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  • Writer's pictureStuart Wakefield

Book Review: "The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Stress and Volatility" by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi



They've done it again!


Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have once again delivered an indispensable resource for writers with The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Stress and Volatility. This second edition builds upon their already remarkable collection of tools that assist writers in creating compelling and realistic emotional landscapes. Here, they take a step further into the labyrinth of human behaviour, offering a comprehensive guide to emotional amplifiers that enhance character development in super-powerful ways.


A bit of background: Originally introduced as a series of blog posts, the concept of the emotion amplifier quickly gained popularity among writers looking to deepen their characters’ emotional journeys. Angels and Becca recognised the immense potential of this idea and expanded it into an e-booklet that became a cherished companion to The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. Now, with this new, expanded edition of The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus, the authors have truly outdone themselves.


The book includes 52 states and conditions that can unbalance characters and steer them toward poor judgment, heightened conflict, and gripping volatility, expertly dissecting these amplifiers, providing invaluable insights into how they can be leveraged to amplify a character’s emotional state and cause internal discord. From pain and exhaustion to jealousy and perfectionism, each amplifier is meticulously detailed with physical, cognitive, and psychological effects that writers can weave seamlessly into their stories.


One of the book's standout features is how it guides writers to use amplifiers not just as emotional catalysts but also as tools that bolster story structure. There's practical advice on how to use these amplifiers to create friction and conflict, which can transform crucial story moments into unforgettable, emotionally charged scenes. By pushing characters onto shaky emotional ground, Angels and Becca have ensured that readers will relate to their vulnerability, making the story all the more compelling.


Beyond its instructional value, The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus is also a smorgasbord of inspiration. Each entry is rich with potential, sparking ideas and offering new perspectives on how to bring characters’ emotions to life.


And you know I'm all about characters!


Angela and Becca understand the human condition deeply, and their empathetic yet clear-eyed exploration of these amplifiers provides writers with a nuanced understanding of their characters’ psychology.


In short, The Emotion Amplifier Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Stress and Volatility is a masterfully crafted guide that should be on every writer’s bookshelf. Angela and Becca have once again proven why they're trusted authorities in character development. By leaning into the complexity of emotional amplifiers, they've created a resource that not only informs but also inspires, empowering writers to create more authentic, emotionally resonant characters and stories.

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