Saturday, December 22, 2012

On the Writer's Resource Bookshelf: The Emotion Thesaurus

I suffer from acute blog phobia. Seriously. I never know what to write and I certainly lack the whimsical, fun attitude of some of my fellow writers. So, since my New Year's resolution (one of many, I might add) is to actually blog more frequently than the 12th of never every other decade I've decided to enter the geek sanctuary of my office and share with you all my take on writer's resource books.

I know. This may make many of you yawn, but you'd be surprised what I consider a "resource." A conversation with one of fellow writers in my local chapter (ARWA rocks!) made me recall a book I'd bought a while back and promptly shelved after thumbing through it.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression is chocked full of some wonderful assistance on how a character could/would/should respond physically, internally and mentally to an emotion. It also delves into cues for acute or long-term and suppressed instances of the emotion.

I purchased mine from Amazon.

The emotions run the gauntlet of what we as writers take our characters through all the time. Adoration, anger, anguish, desire, fear, envy, embarrassment, gratitude, guilt, happiness, impatience, loneliness, surprise and wariness are just a few of the many emotions found within the book. The authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have done a very good job, IMHO, at having a very eclectic array of potential emotions.

The positives of this resource are obvious--it's a treasure trove of not-so-hidden cues and brainstorming nudges for you to seize and run with while writing. The hesitation I have is the potential for falling into cliched responses if you don't pressure yourself to delve a bit deeper and make what you take from this book your own.

Like any resource, you should assign your own voice, world and subtext to it in order to make your story truly shine. No two characters should ever respond to a situation the same. They have different levels of investment in each situation they undertake. They also have different backgrounds, ambitions and fears which are all pertinent ingredients to what I consider a soup of emotions that are present in any scene. Whether it's gritty, hard-core sex or a fight to save a planet there will always be multi-layered emotions at play.

This book is a marvelous resource for beginning your delve into your character's responses. Just remember that the deeper you go the more realistic it will be.

On the Geeky Writer scale of 1-5 pencils, I'd have to give this one a firm 3. A great start that requires considerable creative input by the user.

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