The Emotion Thesaurus: A Review

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Review

You know those moments in your life that change everything? The first day of your dream job, a fantastic kiss, the first time you hold your new baby?

Well, mine was the day a good friend asked me if I knew about this book.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: A book? Really, Sarah, a book? Do you live in a dungeon?

No. This book will change the life of any writer, whether you’re a copywriter, a fiction writer, a poet, it doesn’t matter … you need this book on your desk. In fact, get rid of the family picture that’s taking up space, and replace it with this book. You already know what your family looks like, after all.

So just what is this wonder-livre? It’s a slim 164-page cheat sheet to human emotion: The Emotion Thesaurus  (get it here). The table of contents has 75 different emotions to choose from, everything from adoration and annoyance to sympathy and worry. They even have resignation and nostalgia (big ones for us lazy, sensitive writer types). You just find the one you want to describe, flip to the page and boom, you get a whole passel of descriptions to use.

The Emotion Thesaurus authors even separates them by physical signals, internal sensations, mental reactions, cues of acute or long term emotion, and cues of suppressed emotion. This is great because not only can you avoid overused expressions like “My heart was beating out of my chest” or “I went completely numb” (BORING) but you can also show how other characters see what the main character is going through.

Not writing the next great American novel? Cool. Marketers can totally use The Emotion Thesaurus too. After all, we write copy for clients all the time that is supposed to be raw, visceral, moving … copy that describes the real, human experience. It’s just as useful as it is for chilling fight scenes in the Underworld. (What? Maybe that’s just what we write.)

The truth is, we all are guilty of getting stuck in the rut of using cliché expressions to describe what we’re going through. We are not a society that is always in tune with how our emotions manifest in our bodies, yet it’s one of the most compelling tools to a reader. As my writing teacher in elementary school always said, “Show us, don’t tell us.”

Or maybe she was the one who said, “Say it, don’t spray it.”

… Anyway, now every time you have to describe what a character is feeling, you can just flip through this handy reference book. Whether you need a physical description or the description of a mental process, it’s all there.

So get it here. If you’re a writer, business owner, newsletter sender or even Stephen King, you need The Emotion Thesaurus. Seriously, I now buy this book as a gift for every writer I know, and a few ex-boyfriends too. They also need help with emotional cues.

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