I have a few ‘how-to-write’ books on the bookshelf beside my desk, within reach in seconds if I need to look something up, or refresh my memory, or just give my flagging confidence a boost with the reassurance that I really can do this. I suspect every author has a few of these books. They’re our crutches.
I have everything from “The Planet Construction Kit” to “The Kick-Ass Writer”, but a favourite, and the one I use the most, is Ackerman and Puglisi’s Emotional Thesaurus. It’s a handy compilation of how emotions affect us (and our characters!) and what physical and internal signs and reactions a specific emotion triggers in us — they’ve done the graft of gathering this in one place. The writer doesn’t need to sit there with their thinking cap on wondering “How does anger/fear/joy affect me, and hence my character?”, but can focus on “Oh cool – these are the reactions and sensations. Now then, brain, concentrate on how I can show this in imaginative and unique ways!” It does the initial groundwork, leaving the writer free to weave it all into their character’s own style and voice.
So when I heard that Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi were publishing a new thesaurus, I did something I’ve never done before. I considered how useful the Emotional Thesaurus had been to me, and I joined their Street Team to help get the word out about the new one.
The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 1) has just been released (follow the link for details), and I am delighted to share some info about it, and about a super fun event connected with the launch.
The Conflict Thesaurus tackles all the ways conflict can be used to build tension, push the story forward, raise stakes, and pressure characters to do whatever it takes to win. The guide dives into over 100 conflict scenarios and how each can be adapted to challenge a character inside and out. Problems, Moral Dilemmas, Ticking Clocks, Obstacles, Challenges…say goodbye to writer’s block, weak plots, and unmotivated characters. If you need help in any of these areas, check it out. View the complete list of Conflict Scenarios in this volume here.
Now speaking of challenges, I have an important question to ask you:
Can You Survive Danger as Well as Your Favorite Protagonist?
Let’s face it, as writers, we’re always doing bad things to the protagonist. We put their loved ones in danger, force them to make impossible choices, and worse. But wouldn’t you like to know how you’d fare as the protagonist of a story?
Let me put it another way: if you were in the hot seat, could you handle the pressure? Would you make good decisions or bad ones?
It’s time to find out by taking the Conflict Challenge!
Become the protagonist in a special story Angela & Becca have created using scenarios from The Conflict Thesaurus. And heads up, if you survive, you win some cool stuff!
While you’re trying not to die in the Conflict Challenge, make sure to enter Angela & Becca’s Conflict Thesaurus release day giveaway, too. But hurry – it ends October 15th.
So, take the challenge…if you dare. And don’t forget to come back and let me know how you did against Camp Deadwood!