Book Review: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus

There are a gazillion writing craft books out there. I personally love them, but that’s because I love to devour information (right now I’m reading a book on quantum parapsychology as research for my current fiction book…). But the more I’ve written and read, the more selective I’ve been. In part, because I still want money to buy chocolate (my next sustenance category after information), and secondly, because I’ve become discerning. My reading time is precious, and I want to use it wisely. To do that I need to read books that are knowledgeable, that extend me, that are well researched, and aren’t just a repeat what everyone else is saying. That’s why I thought I’d share this next little gem…

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma ticks every one of those boxes. The purpose of this book is to provide useful information about wounding events and how they impact characters, and it does that comprehensively. The dozens of entries cover everything from carjacking to infertility to failing at school to watching someone die. And for every one of those events or experiences, it enables authors to create the fresh imagery and deeper meaning that our readers crave.

I was lucky enough to be on the review team for Angela Ackerman’s and Becca Puglisi’s latest addition to their thesaurus collection, but I’m buying it anyway. It’s one of the books that will live on my desk within easy reach. And because I’ve been indoctrinated by three science degrees, I wanted to give you a considered argument to back up my belief this book is gold. Here’s why you should buy it:

  • Angela and Becca tackle some pretty intense subjects sensitively and insightfully. As a psychologist, I was impressed that they emphasised self-care for the writer when discussing traumatic events. They recognised that some people have been impacted by these themselves and provided suggestions in a supportive and proactive manner. Well done ladies.
  • The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is premised on the knowledge that, consciously or subconsciously, readers identify with a fictional character’s journey because, deep down, each of us is a bit damaged. We’ve all suffered emotional hurts and are looking to learn, if not heal. If you include these central tenants in your story, you’ve giving your reader what evolution predicts they are there for.
  • The first fifty odd pages are dedicated to a detailed understanding of the character wound and its context and role within a story. Aspects such as the character arc, villains, factors that impact a wound and revealing a wound through behaviour (awesome for that darned ‘show, don’t tell’) are explored in a way that really got my creative processes sparking. That Angela and Becca manage to do this without being prescriptive is impressive.
  • Just like the other thesaurus in the collection (and yes, I have them too), The Emotional Wound Thesaurus covers the nuances and details of each wound. Headings include the basic need that has been compromised, the false belief that may be incorporated, the possible responses and potential triggers (there’s more, but I think you get the point). There’s a goldmine of information that will be useful for plotting and deep characterisation. I can see this book being a great rescue from the mire of writer’s block.
  • Finally, Angela and Becca weren’t afraid to touch on the darker part of human choice. From being a victim of sexual assault, to a character that is responsible for the death of many, The Wound Thesaurus is going to be useful for any author that deals with the challenges life can throw at us (and to be honest, that should be most of you).

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say it was a five out of five. In truth, I wouldn’t take up your time, or recommend you part with precious writer dollars if I didn’t think it would be worth it. With that said, I would highly recommend you include The Emotional Wound Thesaurus into your writer’s resource library.

If you want to check it out, click HERE.

What do you think? Do you see The Emotional Wound Thesaurus being useful for you? Have you already bought it? Connecting with others is why I write. You can comment below, or connect with me on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Have a wonderful week,


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  1. Tamar, thank you so much for this terrific review. It is always so great to hear from authors who have a background in psychology because this book is deeply rooted in real-world behavior and emotion. The more we understand ourselves and why we do what we do, especially when it comes to formative emotional experiences (both good and bad) the more realistic and compelling our characters will be. Becca and I don’t have the background you do, but we both share a passion for the subject as you can see. 🙂 Thank you again–such a terrific piece laying out what the book covers! We are so glad you found it helpful and it caused a few ideas to bubble up!


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