The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Oct. 25th, 2017. I received an arc for review.
I was approached by a team of writers whose thesaurus works and website have been an amazing plus to my writing to do a review of their newest tool for writers. As I’ve learned, a plot isn’t just about the theme or an idea. It’s about complications, the more you can dig down deep into the character the better. So, let’s say, for instance, you want to write about a character disillusioned by life. What made them that way? A robbery? An assault? Going through a divorce? Losing their kids?
You can thumb through The Emotional Wound Thesaurus and find an entry like this: Being Legitimately Incarcerated for a Crime. Under this, you would find basic needs compromised by this, false beliefs that could be embraced, and much more. Such as basic need: Love and belonging. False beliefs: I’ll always be a screw-up. Triggers that may aggravate the wound: seeing police on the streets. You could take this info and create a character like the following:
Greg crouched behind the Toyota Camry. The police were here. Had Tina called them? What was her angle? Didn’t his sister believe in him any longer? He was no longer that person who’d schemed and stolen from his friends at seventeen. He ducked down when the police officer shined his flashlight his way. Hell, he wouldn’t believe in himself either. He was no good. Just like Momma said. Just like Tina probably believed too. He’d never get a second chance. He didn’t deserve one.
Character wound #2: Infidelity. Examples: One’s husband or wife having an affair at work. The character may fear: trusting the wrong person.
Monica would know what to do. She’d seen the signs with Jay. Their marriage had survived. Hers and Ben’s could too. She just needed some advice. She highlighted call under Monica’s name on her cell. A sleepy male voice answered, “Hello?”
“Why are you answering Monica’s cell phone?”
Commotion in the background. Monica’s voice. “Who is it?”
“Shelley,” Ben hissed.
There are some great entries in the beginning of the book that help you learn how to create a character that’s three-dimensional. After all, we don’t want to write stick figure characters, we want some heart and soul in there. The hurts, to be specific. It’s what draws us to the character, makes us want to read on, and invests in the outcome of the story. They go over a villain’s journey, revealing the wound through behavior, and much more.
There is so, so much good in these thesaurus entries. They’re there when you’re stuck and don’t know where to go, how to break yourself out of the mire. They give that extra lift needed to get out and to go on or to crash altogether depending on what type of story you’re writing. I keep them on my desk and on my kindle for times when I need them. These ladies work very hard at what they do and I can’t say enough nice things about them. They truly give writers like me hope. Won’t you try them today?