The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Gide to Character Expression.
Each page in is dedicated to a particular emotion, for instance, fear, humiliation, regret, curiosity, anticipation, etc.
Under each emotion, there is a definition, followed by a list of physical signs. Each page looks a bit like this:
DEFINITION: to be afraid of; to expect threat or danger
Face turning ashen, white, pallid
Hair lifting on the nape and arms
Body odor, cold sweats
All the way down to things like:
A shrill voice
Next there’s a list of Internal Sensations, featuring responses such as
An inability to speak
Heartbeat racing, nearly exploding
Holding one’s breath, gulping down breaths to stay quiet
Followed by mental responses (wanting to flee or hide) and cues of having the emotion acute or long-term (insomnia, depression, exhaustion), cues of the emotion being suppressed (keeping silent, attempting to keep one’s voice light), and other emotions that may follow, along with the page number, such as ANGER (22), TERROR (154), etc.
It’s sooooo helpful when you find your characters doing nothing but smiling, sighing, and frowning.
Want to show excitement? Try a wide grin, bouncing from foot to foot, squealing, or getting the giggles.
How about anguish? Experiment with Tugging one’s hair, checking and rechecking the time, rubbing the arms or legs, restless fingers, or rocking back and forth.
“This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each… This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.”
Still not sure about it? What if I told you it has an in-depth introduction (complete with examples) on how best to utilize emotion? And that each page has a writer’s tip to refresh your memory on writing emotional scenes?
I not only keep this by me when I write, but I also pick it up for fun sometimes. People watching me read it might think I’m crazy, however, because I tend to tap my foot, claw at my cheeks, lick my lips, and squeeze my eyes shut, trying each action as I read it. And then I smile broadly, realizing how perfectly it fits the emotion.
Looking for some new action beats? This is the book for you.