**Welcome! While you're visiting us, we hope you'll grab a free PDF of EMOTION AMPLIFIERS available in the sidebar. This companion to The Emotion Thesaurus is a body language tool for describing your character's PAIN, STRESS, ILLNESS, HUNGER, DEHYDRATION, ATTRACTION & other conditions that 'amplify' an emotional reaction. 

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression

 Struggle with how to show, not tell a character’s feelings? Need help creating fresh body language that does come off as stale or cliché? 

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression is a writer’s best friend, helping to navigate the difficult terrain of showing character emotion. Through an easy-to-use list format, this brainstorming tool explores seventy-five emotions and provides a large selection of body language, internal sensations, actions and thoughts associated with each. For more information on The Emotion Thesaurus, check it out using Amazon's Search Inside Feature, or visit our Goodreads page. We also have samples of the original blog entries below which are a bit different than the book version, but still helpful to get you started. Just Scroll down to see the SAMPLE ENTRIES.

This bestselling writing resource is used by editors, agents and authors worldwide and is required reading for several University-level Creative Writing programs in the United States. Available in ebook and print, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, the iBookstore, and Smashwords. Or, download the PDF straight from our blog (sidebar).

Emotion Thesaurus Buzz:

"One of the challenges a fiction writer faces, especially when prolific, is coming up with fresh ways to describe emotions. This handy compendium fills that need. It is both a reference and a brainstorming tool, and one of the resources I'll be turning to most often as I write my own books."~ James Scott Bell, bestselling author of Deceived and Plot & Structure

"I loved this book! This is a one-of-a-kind resource for the writer. Offering synonyms (and more) for emotions of every stripe - as well as some sound writing advice throughout - this is just the sort of tome to have sitting within reach of the keyboard." ~Author K.M. Weiland Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way To Success

 "A writer's must have in the writers tool box. Highly recommended for all genres of fiction! This is a book you'll use over and over and over again" ~Author Janet Gurtler I'm Not Her, If I Tell, Who I Kissed (Sourcebooks Fire)

Sample Entries:
*Please note that below are the original entries, and some are not 'true' emotions. These ones are not in the book, but rather than delete useful entries, we left them here in the list for you to use and enjoy.

What is an Emotion Thesaurus?
Expressing Cardinal Emotions: Male vs. Female

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this book available through

Yes! We are happy to report that our Canadian friends can now snag a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus from

Will you be offering workshops/courses or lectures sourcing The Emotion Thesaurus?

Yes, we plan to create programming that utilizes The Emotion Thesaurus. If you are interested in finding out more and would like to be added to our emailing list when this is finalized, please email us at with "Emotion Thesaurus Workshop" in the subject header. 

Will you be publishing other Thesaurus Collections, both new ones and those listed on the blog? 

Yes! Look for our next book in Summer of 2013!


We've been blessed in so many ways along our writing paths that we’re returning the favor by donating a portion of the proceeds from The Emotion Thesaurus to Uend: Poverty.

We love this organization because it addresses poverty all over the world. People who donate can hand pick which project or projects they want their money to go toward. Maybe they can fund a smaller project on their own, or be a part of something bigger, like building a school or creating an irrigation system! Another great thing about this charity is that 100% of the gift amount goes straight to a project. Every dollar counts, so why waste it on expensive mail out campaigns and advertizing?  So if you choose to purchase a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus, not only will be you be receiving a gift for you; you’ll also be giving a gift to someone else.


Haley Whitehall said...

Way to give back through your writing! I just bought a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus and love it. I only wish there was an entry for Defiance. That was one I was looking for.

Charlee said...

I am absolutely loving The Emotion Thesaurus. It has been such a useful tool in those tough, opening chapters of my new novel. Thanks for all the careful research and for making it available to us. I downloaded mine to my iPad, but I'll probably be getting a print version as well so that I can add my own notes to your valuable information. I just gave your book a shout-out on my newest blog post at

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks so much, Charlee! I am so happy the book and this blog is helping you and your writing! Thanks so much for the comment and shout out! :)

Becca Puglisi said...

Hi, Haley. When we were revising The Emotion Thesaurus, Angela and I actually discussed Defiance as an entry, but decided that it wasn't an emotion according to our definition. There were a lot of these nebulous possibilities that crossed over between emotions and character traits, and we just had to go with our gut. Sorry about that!

Theresa Henry-Smith said...

Ok, I took my laptop & the Emotion Thesaurus camping with me last weekend. I know that sounds weird being as we're supposed to be 'unplugged' and communing with nature and all that stuff, but if you lived at my house right now (renovations, teenagers not at school, etc.) you'd do it too. Anyway (deep breath) I spent that weekend going through my manuscript looking for those bits where I needed to beef up the emotional responses of my characters. The thesaurus was a great resource! My sister-in-law, who was camping with us, is a social worker, and she was very interested in the book for her workshops with teens dealing with reading body language and emotions. Actors might also find this book useful in getting ideas on how to better express emotions on the stage or screen.
Every camper should have one!
Thanks for this book, Angela and Becca!
-Theresa Henry-Smith

Caroline Clemmons said...

I admire Heifer International and their goals. Going off to buy the thesaurus now.

Daniel said...

Thank you for publishing "The Emotion Thesaurus."

I just read the intro and spent some time reading through some of the entries. I liked the way you introduce the subject and the way you gave tips on how to use the book. The examples were fun and instructive.

I'm about to start revisions on my WIP and I'm sure this will be a great tool for adding depth to my characters and scenes.

In the meantime, I've bookmarked your site and will be back for more information from this astounding resource.

Angela Ackerman said...

Thank you all so much! Becca and I are so happy this book is doing some real good out there. So many aspects of writing are challenging, and emotion is one of the biggest battles to get right in a novel or story. I love hearing how this books is helping and how it's being used--thank you all for sharing your stories with us, not only here, but on FB & twitter as well. :)


Patricia Kurz said...

Great that you have found success. You have a glaring grammar error on your "WRITING HEROES" page. "Becca and I" should be "Becca and me" here.

Tea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andreas Krauß said...

Hi, Angela & Becca.

I have a question. I would really like to buy the Emotional Thesaurus. But except for Itunes, every seller you're offering it on either accepts only credit cards (which I don't have) or demands payment via PayPal, which I won't do because of BAD experiences with PP in the past (besides, PP ruined Ebay as a selling platform for me).

Even you offer only payment options via PP for the PDF you're offering on your blog.

Now I wanted to buy the Thesaurus on Itunes. But because I'm from Germany, I cannot buy it because you offer it only on the American Itunes Store.

Would you offer the ET on the German Itunes Store, please? There, I can pay for it via Click And Buy.

Best Wishes,

NightTempest said...

Just bought my copy via Barnes and Noble and I am so excited. You guys rock! Thanks so much for giving us this wonderful tool. Can't wait to express myself! LOL


June Val said...

I had to convert this to pdf file due to amazon not allowing me auto convert. been searching for a book like this for a long time. Now I finally have what I need to complete my master piece. Thank you for the hard work you put into this. Many blessings along your journey :)

dmeephd said...

An outstanding book. I've got the Kindle version as well as the .pdf and paperback. It almost never leaves my side.

But..., and there's always a but, it's missing some emotions. Here's a list for your next edition:

1. Chagrin
2. Secretive(ness)
3. Lust
4. Thoughtful(ness)
5. Ferocity
6. Questioning
7. Concern
8. Caution
9. Bravery
10. Sorrow
11. Expectation
12. Wistful(ness)
13. Incredulity
14. Grief
15. Warmth
16. Tenderness
17. Panic

Great work. Looking forward to the Physical Attribute Thesaurus making its way into print.

tomdye said...

Just purchased Emotion Thesaurus for my Kindle. This is an awesome compilation that you've put together. I'm wondering if your other Thesauruses are available for Kindle or purchase elsewhere, or if one just needs to parse through your blog. I'd pay for them each, really I would, if they were available.

Becca Puglisi said...

Thank you, Tom! I'm so glad you're finding The Emotion Thesaurus helpful. None of the other thesauri are published as of yet. We're currently working on the next edition: The Character Trait Thesaurus, which will cover oodles of flaws and positive attributes. We're hoping for a summer release. Updates will be forthcoming at The Bookshelf Muse as we get closer, so stay tuned!

steampunkwriter2 said...

Just got my copy of "The Emotion Thesaurus" for Amazon and I Love Love it! Thanks for such a wonderful and helpful tool. Can't wait for "other" editions you might come up with! I'm a fan and customer......! Tony.

Dana McNeely said...

Angela, I love your Emotion Thesaurus. It's such a wonderful resource - I bought it for myself and have recommended it every chance I get. Hope on over to and take a look at today's blog post - we gave it a rave review!!

Christina Banks said...

I just posted about The Emotion Thesaurus on my blog today. It's a great resource. Thank you!

Jim Webster said...

Interesting idea, especially for those times when one is stuck and can't get the right description in one's head. I do have a caveat, however: all characters are not all the same, and some of these descriptors work better on some characters than others. Say you want to get into a character's head in close third, sometimes that person may identify the emotion that he/she is feeling, for example. Or if your MC is alone, he/she's not going to use facial expressions, etc. to convey emotion. For interpersonal interactions, though, a thesaurus could be handy.

englishemporium said...

I'm at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association's summer conference (2013), and all the talk around the table yesterday was about The Emotion Thesaurus. Writers who "make things happen" use this book.

I give it five stars!

Angela Ackerman said...

WOW! I am thrilled to hear that! So glad people are finding their way to The Emotion thesaurus and are being helped by it. Hope you have a wonderful time at the conference. I love the energy that builds in a room full of writers!

bloodsong said...

i love your thesauruses... thesaurusii... umm... :X

what i was looking for, and did not see... was an entry for Laughter. is there one in the full book?

you know what else gets me? other semi-vocal vocalizations? like grunting and huffing? and things like... well, "pfft" and "tss!" for sort of... well, you know, when someone says something funny, but it's teasing. it's not a laugh; it's more a disparagement? an acknowledgement that it is funny, but also denying it is true? or a sort of "heh."

trying to describe these things drives me nuts.

Jim Gillaspy said...

Wish you also had a "gesture" thesaurus

sableye3 said...

I started writing again a few months ago after a long hiatus, and this blog has been amazingly helpful. Body language is so extensive and unwieldy that I always get stuck trying to think it up on the spot. Now I get a lot of nice compliments on my ability to show, rather than tell emotion, and I always point them back to here. The full PDF is definitely worth the price, too.

Tracy Barrett said...

I just got back from a Highlights Foundation Workshop where another instructor included your book on her recommended list. I enthusiastically seconded her recommendation. One of the participants downloaded it that evening and the next day read us his rewritten passages. He told us that the night before he was jumping around his room with delight at how much improved they were (and they really were, too!). Thanks for providing a great resource that's useful to new and experienced writers alike.

Angela Ackerman said...

Tracy, thank you so much for letting us know! I'm honored it was mentioned at the workshop, and so glad someone there gave it a test drive and shared a "before and after" using the book. Emotion is a tough one, and often if we dig just a touch deeper, we can really convey not just emotions, but an experience to the reader. :)

Happy writing--so glad the workshop was so helpful! :)



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