Emotion Thesaurus Addendum: Defensive

  • Arms crossed
  • Squinting eyes
  • Lowered, angry brows
  • Cheeks sucked in
  • Shaking the head
  • Raised voice
  • Blowing out a noisy breath
  • Going on the offensive and verbally attacking the accuser
  • Deflecting blame
  • Flinching, jerking back
  • Difficulty being articulate, stuttering
  • Splaying a hand across the chest, mouth gaping
  • Spots of color in the cheeks…

Turn up the heat on your protagonist by adding conditions that will alter his mood and make him more emotionally reactive.

Like making things tough on your characters? Then you’ll be happy to know that this collection of entries has been expanded into a $1 e-booklet called Emotion Amplifiers. This companion to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression is a body language tool for describing your character’s pain, stress, illness, hunger, dehydration, attraction, and other conditions that amplify an emotional reaction. Please visit our bookstore to find out where you can download your copy.

To make life even easier for writers, all of the entries from Emotion Amplifiers—including a few new additions—have been integrated into our online library, One Stop For Writers. This enhanced collection will help add tension and conflict to your scenes and is cross-referenced for easy searchability. To view these entries along with our other description thesauri, head on over and register for free at One Stop.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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7 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Addendum: Defensive

  1. Mary Witzl says:

    I like this. I’m just doing ‘defensive’ in an extensive rewrite and once again, your site comes in handy. Looking around at others to garner their approval and support is a good one — I hadn’t thought of that!

  2. Lady Glamis says:

    Can I just tell you that your thesaurus is PERFECT for editing? It really is. I love to go back and add details for emotions of my characters, and your thesaurus is a great help!

    Thank you!

  3. NancyE says:

    I’ve been reading and learning for a while. Thanks for being such a wonderful resource.

  4. auria cortes says:

    Oh! Oh! you take requests. How about resigned?

    Btw, if you ever self-publish this blog through Lulu or whatever, I’d definitely buy the book.

  5. Angela says:

    I’m glad you found us, Parakeva! Adrenalin sounds good to me. 🙂

    Thanks PJ!

  6. PJ Hoover says:

    Thursday again!!!!! I love defensive. It’s a great emotion!

  7. parakeva says:

    It’s just excellent. I only found your site yesterday, but I’ve read so much of it already, and I didn’t realise you were still updating! This post has just made me pretty happy for that reason. 🙂

    How about someone experiencing an adrenalin rush for a future post? Because excitement can be felt negatively too, and it seemes like most of the entries under ‘excitement’ are positive – adrenalin is either, it seems…

    Thank you again!

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