Read from February 04 to March 10, 2016
Format Paperback
Review Actually I finished THE EMOTION THESAURUS before the shown date, but I hesitated on the review because it is not an easy work to define in its entirety. This reference work by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, however, is an excellent follow-up to SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS since both deal with the importance of showing instead of telling. Both works start the same, but the book by Renni Browne and Dave King, which I reviewed prior to this book, continues as a lecturing text giving extended advice to writers of novels and short stories. Ackerman and Puglisi, on the other hand, after a lengthy introduction where they emphasize the importance of nonverbal communication (body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.) so that readers can connect with characters on an emotional level, offer a book of lists.

As a reference tool, this work, like others, belongs within arm’s reach of the writer’s work station. It is unique in what it offers — a compendium of emotions with attached subcategories to show how they might be used on the page in a believable manner. This must have been a grueling work to compile, drawing upon, as they mention, other writers in a critique circle.

Two uniformly structured pages are devoted to one particular emotion shown in caps at the top of the left page. Each word is followed by a short definition. The first subcategory is “Physical signals” followed by examples of about 30 words or short phrases. The next subcategories are “Internal Sensations,” “Mental Responses,” “Cues of Acute or Long-term Determination,” “May Escalate to (other emotions and page numbers),” and “Cues of Suppressed Determination.”

Writer’s tips are provided at the bottom of each right page, supplying advice on how to present or utilize these emotions in a believable manner.

This is not, as I mentioned at the outset, an easy work to read through because it does not flow with the continuity if a typical text. For me, it was a matter of highlighting certain examples of words and phrases which showed what characters could be feeling, selecting words that I might use in my current work of fiction in progress, particularly works that would apply to the immediacy of a situation rather than to those that were more extensive and required reaching beyond a particular scene.

Anyway, use this book as it benefits you. It is certainly accessible.