Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression

You've heard me mention The Bookshelf Muse on the blog before. Writers Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are some of the most generous writers I know, offering a huge amount of information to writers--free.

If you've never checked out The Bookshelf Muse, you need to head over there. Ackerman and Puglisi have assembled a constantly expanding series of thesauruses (or is it thesauri?), which has earned them a spot in the Top Ten Blogs for Writers.

On , you'll find a character traits thesaurus, a weather & earthly phenomena thesaurus, a color, shape & texture thesaurus, a setting thesaurus, and a symbolism thesaurus. The emotion thesaurus has recently been gathered into an ebook, which makes it an amazing and handy reference for writers trying to evoke emotion without settling for cliches.

And, generous as they are, Ackerman and Puglisi are offering a sample of the book for free. In the sample .pdf file, you'll find "15 specific conditions (Pain, Hunger, Thirst, Attraction, Exhaustion, etc) that can alter a character's physical and mental state." Once you check it out, you'll probably see why having the book on your computer or ereader would be so helpful. For even more examples from the book, check out the sample entries here.

The $4.99 price is a small amount to pay for seventy five emotions, complete with all the details of how to show those emotions. From body language, internal sensations, actions and thoughts, writers will feel confident in keeping their writing fresh.

Do you have any tried and true resources for showing your character's emotion? Do you act things out yourself, or watch movies depicting the emotion?


  1. Thanks so much for the awesome review--I'm so happy you're getting a loot of use from The Emotion thesaurus, and it's companion, Emotion Amplifiers!

    Have a great weekend!


  2. I bought the Emotion Thesaurus and I have not found anything this helpful in a long time. It works. I have it on my Kindle app on my computer. It is so easy to click on. Wouldn't be nearly as helpful in print.

  3. Angela, you guys did a great job. I'm happy to point others to quality resources!

    Anonymous, I'll keep mine on both my Kindle and computer for easy reference.


  4. I've sampled it. I use samples as a sort of "to be read" list for my Kindle sometimes. :)

  5. It's nice to have something that's easy to pick up and put down when you can snatch a few minutes.




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