The Emotion Thesaurus — A Resource for Every Writer

book cover
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression
by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: May 6, 2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Authors
One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.(Image: The Bookshelf Muse; Synopsis:

My Thoughts:

The Emotion Thesaurus is an important writing resource for anyone preparing written materials for a book, newspaper column, magazine article, blog post, and yes, even a book review, if that written piece includes references to persons and their emotions.

I became familiar with the work of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at The Bookshelf Muse by way of an online search for writing tools and resources. The Bookshelf Muse is Angela and Becca’s brainchild and a rich resource for writers of all genre.  It was on their blog that I discovered The Emotion Thesaurus. If you’re not familiar with The Bookshelf Muse or The Emotion Thesaurusplease follow one of the links provided.

Many writers struggle with communicating the emotions of their characters to their readers.  Ackerman and Puglisi set out to make this task easier, and they have succeeded. The idea that someone had compiled the equivalent of a Roget’s Thesaurus for emotions and feelings was intriguing to me.

Recently, while participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge, I chose to focus my 26 blog posts on emotions from A to Z used in developing what characters might be feeling in a written work.  Often I would not be able to easily find a good way to express a certain emotion, and when I looked in The Emotion Thesaurus, I would find something that worked.

Since then, in writing my memoir, I have found that this is a work which is helpful in describing my family members.  Even though not writing fiction, the resource is highly valuable.

As I have suggested above, I highly recommend this writing resource to anyone writing for any medium which involves writing about people and their emotions.

* * *

Meet the Authors:

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (The Bookshelf Muse)

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (The Bookshelf Muse)

ANGELA ACKERMAN lives in Calgary, Alberta, just a short drive from the Canadian Rockies. She is a co-author of the popular book, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression which profiles seventy-five emotions to help writers show, not tell what their characters are feeling.

A writer of Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult, her work has appeared in Spider Magazine, Wee Ones Magazine and several local city newsletters. When she isn’t plotting about pirates, zombies or monsters made of cereal, she enjoys creating writing tools, photography and taking in the natural beauty of Alberta with her family.

Angela is an active member of SCBWI, moderates for The Critique Circle, an online critique community and runs the award-winning writer’s resource blog, The Bookshelf Muse.

BECCA PUGLISI is a YA writer who lives in south Florida and, ironically, hates the weather. During hurricane season, you can find her cursing the heat, stalking Jim Cantore, and adding to her stash of emergency supplies.

When not writing, Becca’s life revolves around her husband and two adorable little blessings. Al is wonderfully supportive of his wife’s not-exactly-lucrative writing career. He is also a comfortable kind of husband who doesn’t complain when the kids get nutritious leftovers while he has to scrounge some kind of meal out of stale Cheerios, yogurt, and Velveeta. Becca’s toddlers, a girl and a boy, keep her intimately acquainted with the children’s section of the library, the park, and any Chick-fil-A with a playground. She has given up wearing lipstick because she can’t stop kissing her kids.

During her free time (ha), Becca can be found reading, popping open a fresh Mountain Dew, eating low-fat/high-nutrient foods like Twizzlers and Lucky Charms, watching movies, and obsessively calling GameStop to make sure the release of Diablo III hasn’t been pushed back AGAIN.

* * *

COMING UP NEXT TIME:  My review of Katherine (Kas) Sartori’s The Chosen Shell.


12 thoughts on “The Emotion Thesaurus — A Resource for Every Writer

  1. […] The Emotion Thesaurus — A Resource for Every Writer […]


  2. […] (Read the rest of the review here . . .) […]


  3. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader June 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm Reply

    Oh, I think this would be great to have! Even as “just” a blogger I’m always interested in improving my writing. Especially a book that makes me FEEL so much, it’s hard to put some of those feelings into words. This looks like a great resource, thanks!!


    • Sherrey Meyer June 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm Reply

      Jen, I think you’d find this a helpful resource in your blogging and book reviewing. 🙂


  4. My Rite of Passage June 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm Reply

    Sherrey, you’re one busy lady; great review. I’ve got it in paperback because that’s what I prefer for reference books. Well done, Thesaurus Ladies!


    • Sherrey Meyer June 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm Reply

      Belinda, I too like my reference books in paperback — handy and on top of my desk.


  5. Madeline Sharples June 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Thank you, Sherrey, for reminding me about this book. I have it on my Kindle and I keep forgetting to use it. It will help a lot with my novel characters – one, in particular, has trouble showing his emotions.


    • Sherrey Meyer June 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm Reply

      Madeline, glad to be your reminder! It is truly a helpful resource.


  6. Angela Ackerman June 20, 2013 at 9:31 am Reply

    Becca beat me to it! Thank you so much, Sherrey. This is a wonderful review, and we are so happy that writers are finding this unusual writing tool helpful for brainstorming their characters emotions. We have learned so much in our journey so far, and writers have taught us so much. It feels good to be able to offer something to the writing community in return. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend!



    • Sherrey Meyer June 20, 2013 at 11:11 am Reply

      Angela, it’s a wonderful relationship shared between the writer and those individuals who develop and share such great resources. I find myself looking something up on The Bookshelf Muse quite often when I’m stumped with physical description, emotional attributes, etc. I love a two-way relationship like this!


  7. beccapuglisi June 20, 2013 at 9:00 am Reply

    Sherry, thank you so much for the shout out for The Bookshelf Muse and The Emotion Thesaurus. Angela and I have poured our writing hearts into both of these resources, so it’s incredibly gratifying to hear that they’re helping other writers. Thanks for spreading the word!


    • Sherrey Meyer June 20, 2013 at 11:10 am Reply

      Becca, you are so welcome! Good writing resources are essential to those of us who want to write books worthy of our readers. The Emotion Thesaurus ranks at the top with me!


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