Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Review- The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd ed. January 27, 2019

Millions of people want to write books. A few of them will actually start writing. A few of those will finish writing.  If you’re stranded between starting and finishing, sadly aware that you’re missing something, then Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi could be your salvation.

Ackerman and Puglisi have created a series of thesauri that help writers develop powerful, engaging characters and settings.  These non-traditional tools can help a writer find new angles, depth, and vocabulary for what they want to convey.   I have a few of them, both for my personal reference and for my creative writing classes.  I was delighted with the opportunity to see their latest release, in exchange for a fair review.

The latest tool in the arsenal is a re-vamp of the first thesaurus.  The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd edition has almost doubled the first edition.  There are articles on how and why to use various emotions, as well as 55 more emotions to examine.

The articles are clear and easy to apply.  I will be using “Emotion and Dialogue” with my creative writing students.

Each emotion entry provides

  • a definition
  • a long list of physical signals and behaviours of the emotion in action
  • internal responses to the emotion
  • mental responses to the emotion
  • acute or long-term impacts of the emotion
  • signs that the emotion is being suppressed
  • where it may escalate or de-escalate
  • power verbs associated with the emotion.

Now, sure, you would probably be able to figure out a lot of these areas if you contemplated long and hard, but more likely you’d settle for the first few things that occured to you, and miss a variety of points that would add depth to your characterization.  While you were thinking, you wouldn’t be writing more on the story.

When you find a sign of an emotion that you’d never considered, and it gives you new directions  at the same time, you’ve struck gold.  It leads to plot points you may not have considered. I will make good use of this book.

The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd edition is a valuable tool to help writers save time, develop depth, and learn more about their characters.  Highly recommended for your writers’ toolbox!

Visit their website to explore the entry for schadenfreude as an example of what you can expect.

You can buy The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd ed. at the usual sites.  If you use the link at left, I earn a bit as an Amazon Affiliate.

 

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Review- A Perfect Gentle Knight July 9, 2012

A Perfect Gentle KnightA Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson seemed to have an identity crisis. The main character is 11, and it read a lot like a children’s book, but it was set up as a baby boomer memoir, casually referring to events and objects that would be foreign to 11 year olds without any context or explanation. The themes are big: loss, mental illness, coming of age. I think perhaps they are too big for this 164 page format, and too big for 11 year old Corrie to do justice to on her own. I would have loved to see this story twice as long so the characters could have been more finely drawn, the dialogue used more to advance the plot, and to create more of an immersion experience. It felt like the story moved in thick chunks, rather than flowing. I think 60 year olds who grew up in Vancouver would find this a lovely nostalgic book, but I think it misses the mark as a kids’ book, which is a shame, because it could have been fantastic if 1950’s Vancouver could have become as real as, say 1900’s PEI is in the Anne of Green Gables books

 

watering elephants August 31, 2011

Filed under: book reviews,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:41 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I just finished reading Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants which is my book club’s September read.  It’s hard to say what I loved most about this book.  Sara Gruen is a masterful storyteller, and she does a brilliant job of flashing between the present in a nursing home and the 3.5 months in depression era Benzini Brothers Circus.  Her narrator is protagonist “90 or 93” year old Jacob.  It is a testament to Gruen’s skill that he rings entirely true.  She has thoroughly captured the frustration of strong mind being caught inside a feeble body as Jacob remembers the joys and horrors of  life on a circus train.

I remember loving circus books as a kid, and plainly that hasn’t changed.  When I reached the last 50 pages, I couldn’t see how on earth it’d be possible to wrap all the conflicts in so little time, but she does.  I loved the ending as well.  I didn’t see it coming and it made me happy.

Great book.  Highly recommended.

 

 
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