Beyond Thesaurus

You’ve probably heard me rave about The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Pugliesi. It’s a fantastic tool for when you discover passages filled with emotion-words… but little actual emotion. Just open to the alphabetized emotion of choice, and voila – a host of body language cues, common internal thoughts, and visceral reactions await. You’ll also find suggestions for how to keep those characters from “smiling,” “shrugging,” “nodding,” and “frowning” far too much.

In addition to this fantastic resource is a whole collection of (wait, what’s the plural for thesaurus?)… like “Positive Trait Thesaurus,” “Emotional Wound Thesaurus, ” and the “Rural Setting Thesaurus.”

I enjoyed reading the “ghostwriter” entry from the Occupation Thesaurus, linked HERE. I haven’t been able to find a finished book for sale, but the blog post indicates the work will give important background information on a variety of career options for your character, info that relates to character arc and story planning such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals.

But one of my favorite tools on their website ( is the Active Verbs List. After your poor characters have “walked” so many times in 200 pages, it might be nice to give them the opportunity to coast, pad, saunter, swagger, trudge, plod, scoot, shuffle, or totter for a while.

Check it out and let me know what substitutions you find for your personal most-used verbs!

Cheers, Demi

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