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The Emotional Wound Thesaurus

This book is one of a series of thesauruses that I have found useful when it comes to creating and understanding characters. It contains a variety of situations a character can face from crime, disabilities and disfigurements, to trauma and betrayals. The purpose of this book is to learn about how the mind reacts to various scenarios such as these and transfer it to their own stories to try to get an accurate/believable representation.

I'll look at the pages dedicated to 'getting dumped' to explain how the book works. First, it starts with a list of basic needs that are often compromised for the specific scenario. Because something like getting dumped is a more common occurrence, most of us understand, or can at least imagine, the feelings that come with it: lack of self-esteem, belonging, and feeling unlovable. But for other more rare events like learning you are adopted, this tool is useful because the majority of us may not know where to begin.

The book goes on to list what characters who have been dumped may feel: rejection, humiliation, being alone, to name a few. These can be used as first reactions when the specific scene happens in the story. Keep in mind though, this is a general guideline of human emotions. When confronted with the same scenarios, a character with high self-esteem and a character with low self-esteem will react differently. The book isn't the end all be all of how people deal with things. The complexity and diversity is what makes our characters interesting.

Beyond that, you can find more information about traits a character may obtain afterward from attributes to flaws. Good can come from bad situations and vice versa. Getting dumped can drive a character to mature or it can make them more callous.

The section concludes with opportunities to overcome the hardship. Focusing on the break-up scenario, it suggests ways the 'dumped' can grow, accept the change, or realize the change may need to come from within.

I used this resource for my own writing. For someone who hasn't lived through many of the scenarios in the book, it allowed me insight into those I write about. The thesaurus cannot replace the real depth of emotion a person who lived through trauma can, but it's a good starting point in trying to represent your characters more accurately.

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