Have you ever been stuck in a scene and your trying to describe a certain emotion, but you’re sick and tired of using the same emotions over and over, or tired of the heated gaze and clinched fists being the sum of your character’s physical show of anger? Well, guess what? Some smart ladies Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi came up with a nifty cheat sheet of 75 different emotions you can dive into and get a whole list of physical cues to break up the monotony of those glares and fists.
On each page of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression there is a definition of the emotion, a whole list of physical cues, some internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term effects of the emotion, a may escalate list (of different emotions the original emotion might cause), cues of what may happen when suppressing the emotion for too long, and even a neat little writer’s tip box to enhance the emotion in other ways.
At the beginning of the month I picked up a book that drastically changed my way of thinking as a writer. It is why I took a bit of a hiatus from this blog so that I could focus on the book and what it had to offer. I have to say it has made a significant impact on me. Barbara Baig’sHow to be a Writer gave me what no other writing book or writing class had given me, permission to explore and experiment in my writing.
My writing up to this point has been a self guided tour of something I’ve always wanted to do. I lacked the specific education and knowledge of how to be a writer, so I struck out on my own to find my way. In that journey, I found I really enjoyed writing and what it had to offer me. I occasionally had good ideas to write about, but as I wrote and practiced the craft of writing, I was constantly blocked by insufficient ideas to write about and believed I had a really bad case of writer’s block.
This became quite frustrating even though I had helpful advice from writing friends, online classes and other writing books. I knew in my head about the writing process and how to fight writer’s block, but it wasn’t until I read Barbara’s book that explained it in a way I could understand. I realized that it wasn’t that I had writer’s block, but my approach to writing was hindering my ability to write.
Barbara’s book is full of writing exercises centered around free writing, which asks questions that keep the pen moving. She also explains the writing process in great detail, breaking it down into individual parts of the seven main writer’s powers (Creativity, Memory and Expertise, Observation, Imagination, The Subconscious, Curiosity, and the Sherlock Holmes School of Writing). She discusses how to develop the content-mind of a writer and how to write to readers instead of for readers.
The book is all about empowering the writer and I highly recommend it anyone who is just beginning as a writer, or the seasoned writer who needs to get back in touch with their inner writer. It certainly helped me and I will continue to use on my never-ending journey of how to be a writer.