I was pretty excited when first alerted to the release of this new book by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The Emotion Thesaurus by the same authors is a fabulous resource for writers wanting to explore emotional responses beyond the simple and the known. But The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma is another thing entirely. As Story Genius author Lisa Cron says “What good is ‘writing well’ if you haven’t zeroed in on the essence of the story you are telling? This book peels back the layers to reveal not only where the beating heart of your story lies, but how to get it onto the page.”
So why have the likes of Lisa Cron and James Scott Bell endorsed this book? Because it is so practical, giving information on various reasons for motivation through exploring backstory, which is where he essence of all good stories lies.
TEWT begins with a warning (!) that some of the issues raised may touch on an author’s own past, and to be wise when and where exploring such issues takes place. As it goes on to say “People are products of their pasts, and if we want our characters to come across as authentic and believable to readers, we need to understand their backstories, too.” The beginning section looks at how experiencing a traumatic event – whether it be bullying, divorce, car accident, witnessing a shooting, or even ongoing challenging situations, such as living with poverty or a disability – can impact how people see the world, and result in disempowering beliefs about themselves and the world they live in, which affects relationships, their moral code, and their ability to communicate. It then touches on the trigger for change, with a brief look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, and how unmet needs tend to motivate characters to particular goals – a helpful tool for authors needing some help with Goal, Motivation, Conflict.
TEWT explores over 100 different scenarios, examining possible examples of this issue, the basic needs often compromised by this wound, false beliefs that may be embraced, what characters may fear, possible responses and results, personality traits that may form, triggers that may aggravate the wound, and opportunities to overcome the wound. It even gives case studies, and tools to help your character arcs, and backstory profiling.
I think this is a fabulous resource that I cannot recommend highly enough. Want your characters to be believable? Get this resource. Now.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonourable Miss DeLancey, available at Amazon, Koorong, etc
Connect with her: www.carolynmillerauthor.com