Hi everyone! Today I have a special post as part of the Writers Persevere event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward.
To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers. As we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard and as writers we tend to struggle with doubt. Sometimes too, we don’t always get the support we need to follow our passion, or we have added challenges that make writing more difficult. Because people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through these challenges to keep writing, I wanted to post about it too.
Anxiety is the lens I see the world through every day. Is there disaster waiting around that corner? Will today be the day that I’m in a car accident? I talked a lot today, do they hate me now?
I have anxiety- it does not define me, though it does affect me and everything I do, every day of my life.
Welcome to the Manic Writer!
I’m Ann Shannon. This month I’ve been invited to be part of a huge launch team for a book I’m so excited to share with you! The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. They both blog at Writer’s Helping Writers where they offer excellent and timely advice on making your writing the best it can be. They also co-author a series of thesaurus’s (thesauri?) for writers that are quite possibly the most helpful reference books on my shelf. Each book in the series offers alternative words, thoughts and possibilities to help spark your imagination and deepen your characterization and story. I reviewed four of them here, and you can learn more about them here as well. They also offer regular blog posts that cover other thesaurus like entries, such as the Occupation Thesaurus. If you’re not a subscriber or regular reader you should be.
I’m so glad you came to visit me today. Grab a cup of coffee while I share my own Emotional Wound and help to launch this book. I hope you find something to help you in your writing journey today. I’d love to know your thoughts on this and your journey as a writer. Drop me a comment and let me know how you’re doing!
It is not what defines me but for a long time it defined who I was. I held back, stayed home and refused to try new things. I don’t know why I’m anxious. I’ve had some bad experiences but no worse than others. I’ve had a good life, but somewhere along the way I learned to be afraid. That fear colors everything I do, and helps me to write very real anxious characters.
As Amethyst hides under the desk waiting for someone to come rescue her, I can identify with what she’s feeling because I’ve been there. Oh, not under a desk, or living in the apocalypse, thank goodness! But I’ve been in situations where I felt inadequate and anxious about how to react. So I can write her fear into my words, her beating heart, shallow breaths and sweaty palms.
How have I overcome this anxiety? The truth is, I haven’t, not completely. I battle it every day. I choose not to let the anxiety own me. (And so does Amethyst, eventually.) So, I know how to help her step beyond the fear of living in a world she doesn’t understand because I do it too.
How does this relate to a book launch, Ann?
Well, our characters, the best ones, have deep emotional wounds that drive their behavior. Those wounds drive their psychological responses to everything they encounter. As good authors we need to understand those wounds and how they manifest in our characters daily lives.
I’ve got anxiety down but what if my character was abused by a spouse, or betrayed by a sibling? Sure, I can imagine how that might feel, but I risk missing important details. I could research it, interview or study others who have experienced those events. Or I could turn to my trusty thesaurus and read the research that Angela and Becca have done for me.
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus provides a great starting point for me to begin to understand my character, in both the development and the writing phase.
Each possible wound is broken down, first into how it might have happened. The example entry is accidentally killing someone. There are many ways this event might have happened listed, or you might have your own. That is followed by the characters basic needs that have been compromised by the event, false beliefs and fears that might result from it, and possible responses they might have. The thesaurus goes on to suggest personality traits that might form as a result of the tragic event, triggers that might aggravate it and ways your character might overcome it.
How can you live without that? I can’t. I use the other thesaurus’s daily when I’m writing, or developing characters and I’m excited to add this one to my reference shelf.
So where can you get it?
Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? You can join Becca and Angela at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell them about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, write a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere. Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.
There’s a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost at Writers Helping Writers.
I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
The giveaway is only from October 25-27th, so enter asap. And don’t forget to share this using the #writerspersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!
Thanks for Stopping By!
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