The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Psychological Trauma

Authors: , , Ackerman, Angela & Puglisi, Becca

Publication Date:

October 2017



Territories Handled

World excl. English


Creative Writing, Practical Guide

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Psychological Trauma

Authors: , , Ackerman, Angela & Puglisi, Becca

  • 2 Seas Represents: World Translation Rights.
  • Right sold: Japan (Film Art Sha), Korea (Willbooks), China (Ginkgo Beijing Book, 5-book deal)., Turkey (Hep Kitap). Under option: Taiwan, Romania.
  • Over 13,000 copies sold. Over 365,000 copies sold in the series


This is far more than a brilliant, thorough, insightful and unique thesaurus, this is the best primer on story — and what REALLY hooks and holds readers — that I have ever read. — Lisa Cron, bestselling author of Wired for Story and Story Genius, story coach, and TEDx speaker

To weave stories that connect directly to a reader’s heart, an author must go deeper than they’ve ever gone before. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus takes them there. — Steena Holmes, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a must-read for authors who want to write engaging, emotional stories with characters who leap off the page. — Jennifer Probst, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

Compelling characters need depth. This book is a great addition to the thesaurus collection from Ackerman & Puglisi – all of which I own for my writing research bookshelf. — Joanna Penn, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus will help you identify your characters’ backstory wounds and convey their fears, motivations, and behaviors accurately. Using this resource to gain a deep-level understanding of a character, you can plot a tailored arc of inner growth that guides them from the pain of the past toward meaningful goals and fulfillment.

Readers connect to characters with depth, ones who have experienced life’s ups and downs. To deliver key players that are both realistic and compelling, writers must know them intimately—not only who they are in the present story, but also what made them that way. Of all the formative experiences in a character’s past, none are more destructive than emotional wounds. The aftershocks of trauma can change who they are, alter what they believe, and sabotage their ability to achieve meaningful goals, all of which will affect the trajectory of your story.

Identifying the backstory wound is crucial to understanding how it will shape your character’s behavior, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus can help. Inside, you’ll find:

  • A database of traumatic situations common to the human experience
  • An in-depth study on a wound’s impact, including the fears, lies, personality shifts, and dysfunctional behaviors that can arise from different painful events
  • An extensive analysis of character arc and how the wound and any resulting unmet needs fit into it
  • Techniques on how to show the past experience to readers in a way that is both engaging and revelatory while avoiding the pitfalls of info dumps and telling
  • A showcase of popular characters and how their traumatic experiences reshaped them, leading to very specific story goals
  • A Backstory Wound Profile tool that will enable you to document your characters’ negative past experiences and the aftereffects

Root your characters in reality by giving them an authentic wound that causes difficulties and prompts them to strive for inner growth to overcome it. With its easy-to-read format and over 100 entries packed with information, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a crash course in psychology for creating characters that feel incredibly real to readers.


Japan (Film Art Sha)