The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression (Second Edition)

Release date: February 19, 2019. Preorder now! See below for details.

The bestselling Emotion Thesaurus, often hailed as “the gold standard for writers” and credited with transforming how writers craft emotion, has now been expanded as a Second Edition that includes 55 new entries!

One of the biggest struggles for writers is how to convey emotion to readers in a unique and compelling way. When showing our characters’ feelings, we often use the first idea that comes to mind, and they end up smiling, nodding, and frowning too much. If you need inspiration for creating characters’ emotional responses that are personalized and evocative, this ultimate show-don’t-tell guide for emotion can help. It includes:

  • Body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for 130 emotions that cover a range of intensity from mild to severe, providing innumerable options for individualizing a character’s reactions
  • A breakdown of the biggest emotion-related writing problems and how to overcome them
  • Advice on what should be done before drafting to make sure your characters’ emotions will be realistic and consistent
  • Instruction for how to show hidden feelings and emotional subtext through dialogue and nonverbal cues
  • And much more!

This edition of The Emotion Thesaurus, in its easy-to-navigate list format, will inspire you to create stronger, fresher character expressions and engage readers from your first page to your last.

Want to see a sampling?

Euphoria, vindicated, and schadenfreude are just a few of the new entries. You can also browse the Table of Contents to see all 130 emotions in this volume.

This second edition can be preordered through 2/18 at various distributors. You can also add it to your Goodreads list of books to read.

*Preorder Bonus!*

If you preorder this book, send a screenshot of the order to this special email address and you’ll receive a bonus PDF of entries that we completed but chose not to add to the 2nd edition!

Are you a collector interested in the first edition? Find it here.

 

127 Responses to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression (Second Edition)

  1. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus | Louise Bergin

  2. Krishnendu says:

    Hi, I am from India, and there is no pre-order kindle version is available. Please help.

  3. Pingback: Emotion Thesaurus 2nd Edition Review – Suzanne Payne-Burrows

  4. Pingback: Writing Show, Don't Tell Scenes - Linda S. Clare

  5. Pingback: Telling vs. Showing When Emotions Are at Work - Kobo Writing Life

  6. DJ says:

    I’m a little upset that I can’t pre-order the PDF file because I’d absolutely LOVE to get the Pre-Order bonus, too. I’m saying this because I’ve legit purchased all of you two’s Thesauri (or Thesauruses, take your pick) via PDF. 🙁 Ah well. I can deal with not having the Pre-Order bonus. Won’t stop me from getting this either way, so… yeah!!

  7. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus: Second Edition | A Mind With a View

  8. Pingback: WORDS FOR WRITERS: The DO-ING Trap | J.M. Frey

  9. Pingback: A Special Edition: Updated Tools for the Writer’s Toolbox | Fannie Cranium's

  10. Pingback: BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 23 January 2019 – WREADING WEDNESDAY – FEATURED BOOK and COVER REVEAL– EMOTION THESAURUS by ANGELA ACKERMAN and BECCA PUGLISI | robinsnest212 - stories by design

  11. Pingback: A New Thesaurus is Stomping into Writers Town – Melinda S. Collins

  12. Pingback: I have a secret to spill!

  13. Pingback: I Have a Secret to Spill! – WriteForLife2017

  14. Pingback: Writers Helping Writers Big Secret-The Reveal | Amy Catlin Wozniak

  15. Pingback: Cover Reveal: The ??? Thesaurus – For His Glory

  16. Pingback: Exciting new Emotion Thesaurus coming soon!!! – Kitty Kat's Book Review Blog

  17. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming! | Darlene Foster's Blog

  18. Pingback: Big News: New Thesaurus Revealed! – The Winged Pen

  19. Pingback: Special: Introducing a New Thesaurus from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi! | Loleta Abi

  20. Pingback: Drumroll, please… Cover and Title Reveal Inside! – Staci Troilo

  21. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus: The Big Reveal is here! - Juneta Key

  22. Pingback: 9 Tension-Building Elements For Character Dialogue | Writers In The Storm

  23. Pingback: Craft On Tap–our favorite books on the craft of writing – kidlitcraft.com

  24. Pingback: Determining a Character's Emotional IQ | Writers In The Storm

  25. Kate Rauner says:

    This is a great resource. Have you considered an entry for Sarcasm? People use this all the time in real-life, but how to show it in writing without adding “s/he said sarcastically” Any suggestions right now?

  26. Pingback: How to Create a Redeemable Villain — Guest: Becca Puglisi | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

  27. Pingback: Crafting Characters Readers Will Love Part 1 by Jean Hall - Almost An Author

  28. AlexaFaie says:

    The sample of this is actually quite helpful for a probably totally unintentional reason. I am a recently diagnosed autistic adult and have struggled all my life with being able to “appropriately” communicate with others. Especially the bit on “melodrama” where you talk about extreme outward expressions of emotion being disbelieved because “in real life, emotion isn’t always so demonstrative.” I wonder if this is why I am always disbelieved when I express my emotions – because they always tend to the extreme. It’s extremely hurtful to have people dismiss your experiences just because you express them too loudly so it must be fake. I learned the hard way that I had to repress all emotion as much as possible because otherwise I would be criticised and disbelieved.

    So reading something like this (whilst trying to learn more about how to describe my emotions so that others don’t dismiss me) has been a bit of an eye opener into how neurotypical people/society sees emotions/behaviours. I also saw another post elsewhere which listed body language for different emotions and that has really helped too since it explains why not making eye contact is seen as such a bad thing – it shows up as a “symptom” of boredom, deception, embarrassment, dishonesty (it mentions honesty as involving maintaining eye contact), secretiveness, shame, and shyness. When in reality it just feels like the most personal thing (other than sex) you can do with someone – it’s this intense feeling that with the right person can be an amazing send shivers down your spine kind of thing, even erotic. Which honestly is NOT something that is going to feel comfortable with just anyone and especially not the kinds of people who tend to demand it – parents, teachers and so on. Being forced to maintain eye contact feels like being forced to engage in something sexual you are not comfortable with and you are just expected to accept it as a normal part of being part of society. As a child it just felt wrong and too intense.

    So maybe a tip to neurotypical writers wanting to write an autistic character – expect that they express emotions differently and what might seem melodramatic for an allistic person might actually be normal for the autistic person. Often our difficulties with expressing emotions is that we do so so intensely that they are disbelieved or ignored and create confusion within ourselves. Emotions can be very overwhelming for the autistic person and they may try to shut them down because they are too loud to process properly. Some of us struggle to identify what emotions we are feeling because they don’t always make it past the physical sensation stage. A racing heartbeat can be anything from anxiety to excitement to arousal to anger and without the ability to put the feelings into words properly, it can be difficult to tell exactly what we might be feeling. Often our body language doesn’t match our inside emotions. In that list elsewhere, gesturing with your hands/flapping them/hand waving can be signs of exasperation and even contempt! But a lot of autistic people flap and wave their hands because they are very happy and excited. Basically lots of “negative” emotion body language is common autistic body language which doesn’t mean the same thing. No wonder there is so much confusion!

    • AlexaFaie says:

      Also wanted to add that the first description about the break up scene in the car seemed far more realistic than the second drawn out version. For me at least, I will experience the extreme emotion immediately like the break up –> don’t care if live or die. It’s like my brain just dumps me right in the deep end. Only later on with lots and lots of rumination on what I was feeling am I able to break it down into slower more logical steps. My brain will then furnish me with explanations. So to me it would happen more like the first example, then would cut to a scene later lying in bed going through everything and the second bit almost being an imagined conversation. In the moment I won’t know *why* I am feeling __insert strong emotion here__ about something, just that I am. My Mum upset me the other day on the phone and I was in tears (on and off as I relived it) for the rest of the day and going over why I felt so upset to make sense of it all. Allistic people might not have ended up experiencing it so “melodramatically” but for me that’s the only way I can experience emotions. The other option is total suppression which has had a terrible effect on my mental health. The reason I experience emotions like this isn’t psychological, it’s neurological but it’s still a valid way of experiencing it.

      • AlexaFaie says:

        And the bit about the Valedictorian (not sure what that is but the person is obviously happy about it) again sounds like an autistic example. That thought based monologue? PERFECT way of describing the reaction and I really feel for the character. Though it is “nice” to realise that how you experience things comes across as odd. (Insert sarcastic voice). Why would you say some of that stuff out loud? It doesn’t make sense! The excited hug speaks volumes and it makes far more sense to keep the “take that” bit inside as it’s rude to say that sort of thing out loud. You keep that kind of thing to yourself. The most I might be able to verbally express in that situation would be an excited squeal! Too much feels to put into words!

        So yeah, if you want to write autistic characters please break the rules and do what this is telling you not to do. It’s far more realistic to how at least this one autistic person experiences things.

      • Absolutely valid! And again, provided the author shows the “why” it will be accepted by the reader even if it is not the same as their own personal experiences when it comes to responding to an emotionally charged situation.

    • Yes, there are many ways that a character on the autistic spectrum, or with a condition like Alexithymia, emotional agnosia, or some types of mental illness, would have to portray a character differently. There are also cultural differences to consider; eye contact is a sign of interest, engagement, respect, etc. but in other cultures it may be viewed as challenging, rude, and antagonistic.

      In any story (provided we clearly show any personality or cognitive factors that cause a certain type of emotional responses) we can make the character’s responses come across as genuine, even if they are atypical. A great example of this is the book, The Rosie Project.

      Thanks for weighing in!

  29. Pingback: Personalizing Your Character’s Emotional Wound - Jerry Jenkins | Proven Writing Tips

  30. Pingback: #15 - Angela Ackerman - Write Through The Roof -

  31. Pingback: My Writing Journey Through a Really Rough First Draft

  32. Zandile Tshabalala says:

    I’m a beginner/ new writer,I have not published any book but when I look here really this help you have provided is good,very good.
    I just wana say thank you,hope to finish my book next year.

  33. Pingback: The Great Big Jump’s Holiday Gift Guide for Writers – The Great Big Jump

  34. Pingback: Writing Characters That Mirror Real Life - Kristen Lamb

  35. Pingback: Writing Tips: What Is Emotional Shielding and Why Does it Matter For Your Character? | The Creative Penn

  36. Pingback: #05 - Beverley Lee - Write Through The Roof -

  37. Pingback: #5onFri: 5 Reasons You Need to Know Your Character’s Emotional Wound

  38. Pingback: Ava Holland

  39. Pingback: Writing: The Art of Turning a Unique Phrase – Glennis Browne – Author

  40. Pingback: Pitch Wars 2017 Mentor Bio: Stephanie Scott and Erica Chapman | Stephanie Scott

  41. Pingback: Subterfuge in Dialogue | Writers In The Storm

  42. Pingback: Guest Post: 2 1/2 Indie Resources I Can’t Live Without by Becca Puglisi

  43. Pingback: Favorite Online Writing Resources – Daily Delusions

  44. Pingback: Craft On Tap–our favorite books on the craft of writing – MG Lunch Break

  45. Pingback: Shades of Nuance: Shades of Feeling – Celticfrog Editing

  46. Pingback: Crafting a Powerful Set-Up | Writers In The Storm

  47. Pingback: S.J’s Helpful Master Post! – S.J. Penner

  48. Pingback: Good Story Titles: 17 Fiction Writing Experts Reveal Their Secrets | Creative Writing Prompts, Tips and Tricks

  49. Pingback: 2016 WWC – Sensuality | Hyacinthe Miller

  50. Pingback: Tension in the Telling – Ellen T. McKnight

  51. Pingback: Excerpt from Nerve by Jeanne Ryan | pdworkman.com

  52. Pingback: Symbolism & Setting—The Perfect Marriage | Kristen Lamb's Blog

  53. Pingback: When Things Go Wrong—15 Tools Inspired by Eastern Wisdom to Find Stillness in the Storm Part II

  54. Pingback: 4 Tips for “Setting” a Mood — Guest: Becca Puglisi | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author

  55. Pingback: Aware of Bravery and Courage but who Determines these Expectations of Living? | Up the Creek with a pen …

  56. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus – Wendy Writes

  57. Pingback: The Joy of Nuance | Celticfrog Editing

  58. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Revisions – 80% Complete | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  59. Pingback: What is a scene exactly? | Lisa Reiter – Sharing the Story

  60. Pingback: Cool Tools for Writers | Charlotte Rains Dixon

  61. Pingback: Writing: The Art of Turning a Unique Phrase | The Creative Penn

  62. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | PrickleForrestChronicles

  63. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | 4crhb's Blog

  64. Pingback: One Stop for Writers | Bran Lindy Ayres

  65. Pingback: This is a blog post « Jennifer M. Eaton

  66. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | BlogLor * Life, Love & Laughs

  67. Pingback: One Stop for Writers – Something New from the Authors of the Emotion Thesaurus | Jennifer M Eaton

  68. Pingback: One Stop for Writers: an Online Library Unlike Any Other | disregard the prologue

  69. Pingback: One Stop for Writers | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  70. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | Cheryl Reif Writes

  71. Pingback: Making Story MAGIC—How To Bring the Elements All Together | Kristen Lamb's Blog

  72. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other «

  73. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | A Mind With a View

  74. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | Dawn Allen

  75. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | ¶ilcrow & Dagger

  76. Pingback: One Stop for Writers… It’s Launch day!

  77. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | Micki Browning

  78. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | April Brookshire

  79. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other | MC Houle

  80. Pingback: One Stop For Writers: Virtually all a writer needs | Heather M. O'Connor

  81. Pingback: Peers | D.T. Krippene

  82. Pingback: 3 Tips to Add Power to Your Writing | Eagle Eye Edits

  83. Pingback: Polishing Those Pages |

  84. Pingback: more show vs. tell: the subtle art of subtext | Inspired Melancholy

  85. Pingback: Writing Worksheet Wednesday: Good Dialogue | e.a. deverell: creative writing blog

  86. Pingback: Writer.ly Community – Emotion-Charged Settings

  87. Pingback: Do You Prep Before You Write? | Writing&More

  88. Pingback: Going Deeper with Deep POV (& a free edit) - Bethany Kaczmarek | Bethany Kaczmarek

  89. Pingback: Gifts That Matter: What Writers Need Most This Christmas | Writers In The Storm

  90. Pingback: Amazing Writing Resource | Graveyard Writers

  91. LeslieZ says:

    I find myself recommending this great resource all the time – so I posted a brief blurb on my blog. Thank you so much for a wonderful tool!
    http://zampettilw.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/once-more-with-feeling/

    • Hi, Leslie! I’m replying to a wayyyy back comment of yours regarding the Emotion Thesaurus :). I wanted to tell you that we’ve released a second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus containing 55 additional entries and enhanced front matter. Because you enjoyed the first edition, I thought you might want to know about the second one.

  92. Pingback: Once more with feeling – Rear in Gear

  93. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Prep | Writers In The Storm

  94. Pingback: Book Review – Positive/Negative Traits and Emotional Thesaurus | Madness of a Modern Writer

  95. Pingback: Kickstarter Update — New Stretch Goal: $4000 | Madness of a Modern Writer

  96. Pingback: The Emotion Thesaurus | Dust 2 Diamonds

  97. Godel Fishbreath says:

    The Emotional Thesaurus is a great work. But it could use some more links between emotions, back links to places already linked, etc.
    For example:
    MAY ESCALATE TO: LOVE, DESIRE, FRUSTRATION, HURT
    CUES OF SUPPRESSED ADORATION:

    But Love, Desire etc do not back link to Adoration. And Adoration does not side link to its opposite, nor to Envy. There are many links missing. It would be better with a better link pack.
    And I could, in the future, note emotions that are not lisMAY ESCALATE TO: LOVE, DESIRE, FRUSTRATION, HURT

    CUES OF SUPPRESSED ADORATION:ted.
    Maybe I and others could help?

  98. Pingback: Hidden Emotions: How To Tell Readers What Characters Don’t Want To Show | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  99. Pingback: Writing Emotion: Does Your Hero Shrug, Smile & Frown Too Much? | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  100. Pingback: Story Midpoint & Mirror Moment: Using a Hero’s Emotions To Transform Them | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  101. pam says:

    Hi Angela,
    Book looks interesting. 75 emotions! I thought I had only 4. 😉 Will check it out on Amazon.
    PS – I noticed the word “not” seems to be missing from this sentence: “Need help creating fresh body language that does come off as stale or cliché?” Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to reach you with a private message.

    • Pam thanks! How embarrassing–so glad you caught that. It’s funny, you look at something so much, you cease to “see” it…this is why proofreaders and critique partners are worth their weight in gold!

  102. Pingback: BiblioCrunch | Self Publishing Blog

  103. Shirley Artson says:

    I have not purchased your book, but I fully intend to do so. I’m a new writer and I have been looking for good tools and resources.

    • Thanks so much, Shirley–I hope it helps! Amazon has the search inside feature that helps show what this book is like, because it’s not a typical writing book. have a peek if you like!

  104. Pingback: Writing Fiction: Creating Friction With Clashing Personalities

  105. Pingback: Writing Fiction: Creating Friction With Clashing Personalities | The Creative Penn

  106. Pingback: No she didn't! Cliche Descriptions and Gestures - Bethany Kaczmarek

  107. Pingback: No she didn't! - Bethany Kaczmarek

  108. Pingback: The Path To 10K In Sales: Strategy, Luck & Mistakes | WRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  109. Pingback: Creative Book Launches That Command Attention | WRITERS HELPING WRITERS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.