The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma

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Genre: Writing Reference
Tag: Recommended Books

Readers connect to characters with depth, ones who have experienced life’s ups and downs. Of all the formative experiences in a character’s past, none are more destructive than emotional wounds.

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About the Book

Identifying the backstory wound is crucial to understanding how it will shape your character’s behavior, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus can help. Inside, you’ll find:


  • A database of traumatic situations and events common to the human experience
  • An in-depth study on a wound’s impact, including the fears, lies, personality shifts, and dysfunctional behaviors that can arise from different types of trauma
  • An extensive analysis of character arc and how the wound and any resulting unmet needs fit into it
  • Techniques on how to show the past experience to readers in a way that is both engaging and revelatory while avoiding the pitfalls of info dumps and telling
  • A showcase of popular characters and how their traumatic experiences reshaped them, leading to very specific story goals
  • A Backstory Wound Profile tool that will enable you to document your characters’ negative past experiences and their aftereffects


Root your characters in reality by giving them an authentic wound that causes difficulties and prompts them to strive for inner growth to overcome it. With its easy-to-read format and over 100 entries packed with information, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is a crash course in psychology for creating characters that feel real to readers.


Jami’s Review:

Characters’ wounds can drive much of their actions, from what they fear or falsely believe to how they interpret the world and what motivates them to strive for their goals. With 36 pages of introductory material, authors can get a deep understanding of the psychology behind our character’s layers (including a look at how to apply this information to our story’s villains). Within the Thesaurus itself, each wound includes 2 pages detailing its interactions with our characters’ needs, false beliefs, fears, reactions, personality traits, triggers, and opportunities to overcome.


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