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The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I've long wished for a book like this.
There have been books and classes before telling writers about character emotions, but those haven't been as helpful. Typically, those books and classes get it the wrong way round: they tell how to read body language (if a character's posture looks so-and-so, it means he's feeling such-and-such). As a writer, I found those useless. I know what my characters feel; I want to know how to convey this to my readers.
For years, I compiled my own list of emotion details for my own use. The material I've come up with has been helpful but limited. I'm glad someone has finally published a book with all the information, much more comprehensive than what I've come up with, and structured the way writers need it. The writer can look up the emotion, and see how it feels physically (useful when the character is the PoV) and how it looks to someone else (posture, facial expression, movement etc - useful when the PoV observes that character).
I recommend this book for professional level writers.
So, what's this reference work like?
Well, surprisingly, it's in the form of a thesaurus: novel, eh? There's a short introductory section that provides a brief overview of emotion and its place in writing. A short article on avoiding common problems in conveying nonverbal emotion follows. And a short explanatory piece then explains how best to use the thesaurus. After these pieces come the listings.
Now, I don't know about you, but perhaps because I'm a man and therefore emotionally challenged, I'd have found it difficult to come up with a list of more than ten emotions. So it was something of a surprise to discover 75, yes seventy five, listed here. For each of these, the authors have provided a definition of the emotion, a list of physical signals, the internal sensations experienced, the mental responses felt, cues of acute or long-term encounters with and cues of suppressed experience of the emotion. The final piece on each is a short writer's tip.
The book sets out to enable writers to convey emotion in the time-honoured fashion of `showing' rather than the easier and less satisfying `telling'.Read more ›
While the content seems to be good - and in all fairness is not the subject of this review - I will say again: DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE EDITION. This is not a book you want to read in linear fashion, page by page.
I have asked Amazon for my money back and I will order the paperback edition.
It lives up to the bracketed part at least. As other reviews have said, this is what it says: a thesaurus. Not an interesting one, or one that I found to be particularly helpful. The suggestions aren't unique or compelling, most are standard and common sense, and I saw nothing that was visceral. I was hoping for more practical examples, teaching by demonstration, rather than just pages with plain, rather repetitive lists, of what a person might do when experiencing a given emotion.
If you're really, really, struggling to show your character's emotions rather than telling them then this might be of use. But most of the information on these pages has no particular depth to it, and as such they are things you can readily guess at or invent yourselves. I would not recommend it, and I'm only giving it two stars because I think I've come into it with the wrong expectations.
The dozens of five star reviews leave me close to dumbfounded.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely useful. I've used it regularly throughout my latest novel and will use it again quite a lot going forward.Published 11 days ago by Antony
If you are tired of repeating yourself to show how your characters are feeling this is a great little book to remind yourself of how we react in different conditions.Published 18 days ago by Rebecca Bradley
This thesaurus is extremely useful, whether you're a new author or an established one. Helps tremendously when you're not quite feeling the story you're writing or have hit a... Read morePublished 27 days ago by LoveBooksForEver
James Scott Bell (I'm his number one fan) says that it's possible to learn the craft of writing so I'm persevering. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Celia Carlile
This book is nothing short of amazing. It is an essential tool for writers worldwide and I intend to make good use of it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J Bannion