The Emotion Thesaurus

Author: Ackerman, Angela & Puglisi, Becca

Publication Date:

April 2019



Original language and publisher

English (USA) | JADD Publishing

Territories Handled

World excl. English


Creative Writing, Reference

The Emotion Thesaurus

Author: Ackerman, Angela & Puglisi, Becca

  • 2 Seas Represents: World Translation Rights.
  • Rights Sold: Japan (Film Art Sha), Korea (Infinity Books), Romania (rights reverted), Taiwan (Yuan-Liou Publishing Co. Ltd), China (Thinkingdom), Turkey (Hep Kitap), Russia (Alpina).
  • This popular writing resource has sold over 250,000 copies since its publication in May 2012! Over 500,000 copies sold in the series


‘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

This unique guide covers the show-don’t-tell aspect of character emotion by listing the body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations of 130 different emotions.

The bestselling Emotion Thesaurus, often hailed as “the gold standard for writers” and credited with transforming how writers craft emotion, has now been expanded to include 55 new entries!

One of the biggest struggles for writers is how to convey emotion to readers in a unique and compelling way. When showing our characters’ feelings, we often use the first idea that comes to mind, and they end up smiling, nodding, and frowning too much.

If you need inspiration for creating characters’ emotional responses that are personalized and evocative, this ultimate show-don’t-tell guide for emotion can help. It includes:

  • Body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for 130 emotions that cover a range of intensity from mild to severe, providing innumerable options for individualizing a character’s reactions
  • A breakdown of the biggest emotion-related writing problems and how to overcome them
  • Advice on what should be done beforedrafting to make sure your characters’ emotions will be realistic and consistent
  • Instruction for how to show hidden feelings and emotional subtext through dialogue and nonverbal cues
  • And much more!

The Emotion Thesaurus, in its easy-to-navigate list format, will inspire you to create stronger, fresher character expressions and engage readers from your first page to your last.


Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are members of the SCBWI.  They speak at writing events through the Florida SCBWI and When Worlds Collide and teach online courses at WANA International.  Their award-winning online resource, The Bookshelf Muse, is used by teachers, editors, agents, and authors and has over two million hits.  As their readership continues to grow, they are working on delivering more books for their Descriptive Thesaurus Collection.


Ackerman&Puglisi_THE EMOTION THESAURUS_Korea_Infinity Books     Ackerman&Puglisi_THE EMOTION THESAURUS_Japan_Film Art Sha_January 2016   Emotion thesaurus - romania   

Korea (Infinity Books), Japan (Film Art Sha), Romania (Paralela 45), Taiwan (Yuan-Liou), China (Thinkingdom)