I was smiling, relaxed and laughing. My voice was light and bubbly, as I spoke rapidly about what I was reading in my new book. I couldn’t stop thanking her for my gift. Was it the fanciest gift I’d ever received? The most expensive? No. But it was amazing nonetheless.
Welcome back to the Manic writer! If you’re not a follower you’re missing out on all the fun! See that subscribe box to the right? It says Get the Mania in your inbox- drop your email there and you won’t miss a moment. I’ll be starting up some new columns next month that will include giveaways and lots of Indie Authors. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this!
I got my start writing fan-fiction. Last week I got to thinking about the stories I’d lovingly crafted for my favorite fandom characters. Some of the characters I loved and wrote about inspired my own characters and in a few cases the stories I wrote inspired me to write my own original work. From there it’s history.
I don’t write fan-fiction anymore, I’m consumed with my own original work, but I missed a few of my favorites and I went back and read them again. I am so amazed at how much my writing has changed in just a few short years. I wish I’d had the books I’m reviewing today back then. For now I’ll just cringe when people ask how to find my fan-fiction.
Once a month I try to review a craft book, a book that has improved my writing. This week I’m reviewing a set of books that I own. I came across The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression a while ago, but I’m a cheapskate so instead of purchasing it I added it to my wish list along with the others in the set, The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes, The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws, The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Places and The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces. This is a series of books written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
Once I’d done that I promptly forgot about it.
This last Christmas my sister, who was stumped on what to give me, checked out my list, noticed them and got me the Emotion Thesaurus. My face lit up like her Christmas tree, which wasn’t a tree at all, when I unwrapped it. I spent the next twenty minutes buried in a thesaurus.
Yes, I’m a nerd.
I also purchased the rest of the set as soon as I got home. I purchased E-books since I write on the go sometimes and carrying reference books with me just doesn’t work. They re all available as paperbacks as well.
The Emotion Thesaurus is exactly what it sounds like. A number of emotions are covered and each entry offers a definition, physical signals, internal sensations, and mental responses that might accompany that emotion. The entry also lists the cues your character might show if their emotion was acute or suppressed. My excerpt above uses examples from the entry about happiness.
The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus’s talk about using traits to deepen your characterization to help your reader become emotionally invested in them. They use a similar format as the Emotion Thesaurus by defining the characteristic, listing similar attributes, possible causes and associated behaviors. I haven’t used these as thoroughly as I should, mostly because when I bought them I was in the middle of writing something I’d already developed characters for, but I’m in the beginning of a new project and I intend to make full use of it.
The final set in the series is The Urban and Rural Setting Thesaurus’s. These each open with some great suggestions on how to use setting to make your story come alive and then an entries for various settings and what they might be like. They include the sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and possible sources of conflict that might come from that setting amongst other suggestions. Again, an invaluable resource.
Each book is available in kindle format and paperback. They range in price from $4.99 to $5.99 for the Kindle version and $12.19 to $16.14 for the paperbacks. They are all well worth the investment you will make. There is also a small ebook called the Emotions Amplifier available for free from the same authors.
I have the whole set on my kindle which I can carry with me for easy reference. On the Kindle version the table of contents is linked and you can easily jump through the book, hopping back to the table of contents at any time. The paperback versions are also great for easy desk reference if you prefer that. If you are an author this is a series you will find very helpful.
Thanks for stopping by the Manic Writer. Do you want to see what’s on my TBR pile, check me out on Goodreads! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook, drop me a note and tell me what you think. On Twitter I’m active in the #5amwritersclub, #authorconfessions and other Twitter hashtag games. If you don’t know what a hashtag game is watch for my upcoming post where I’ll explain them
Don’t forget that I’m publishing a novella called Divorced White Female for free on the web. When it’s fully published I’ll be releasing it as an E-book, free to my subscribers at the release. Follow the link to sign up for updates on the novella and sign up here for updates on the e-book release.
The Mania is so much more fun with friends.