Every author has her favorite tools to help her produce words on the page. One of my favorites is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I turn to this book often to help me show what my character is feeling.
A novelist could put down the sentence Jane is happy, but those words just lie there flat. There is no emotion to them that can connect the reader to Jane’s happiness. It almost sounds like a factual statement like there are 50 states in the United States. There is no emotional resonance to that fact. A point of view character is the emotional gateway for a reader to experience the story. No gateway means no connection with the reader. The romance genre is especially all about the emotions.
If the writer turned to The Emotion Thesaurus under Happiness, she would find a list of physical signs, internal and mental responses, and external cues that could be interpreted by another character. For example, one internal sensation listed is a feeling of breathlessness. The reader has experienced the breathlessness caused by happiness. That memory would help her to identify with Jane’s, and now the story is being lived by the reader. Jane’s happiness would connect to the reader on a very basic level. (I chose happiness because writers’ examples of emotional expression often seem to pick anger, and there’s more possibilities than just that one.)
Amazing as The Emotion Thesaurus is, there is even more good news. On February 19, 2019,the second updated edition is being released. This includes an additional 55 more emotional descriptions, bringing the total to 130. Human beings have a wide range of emotions!
But wait, there’s more. . .
If you pre-order the new second edition and send a screenshot of your payment to the authors, you will receive a PDF file of additional emotions the authors completed but decided not to include in the book. You have until February 18, 2019 to buy the pre-order and take advantage of this offer. I receive no compensation for alerting you to this; I’m just excited about the new edition. For all the details, click on this link: