A Great New Tool For Writers: The Occupation Thesaurus

It’s release day for The Occupation Thesaurus–and there’s a bonus and a giveaway running July 20-23.

I love Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s writer thesaurus books so much that I wanted to be part of spreading the word. So I’ve written a review of their latest book, included details on their giveaway and bonus, and have a mini post from them.

Take it away, Angela and Becca:

Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)

Happy writing to all!

Thank you Angela and Becca!

My review–and why you’ll want to add The Occupation Thesaurus to your books on writing technique.

If you want to add layers to your character and plot, you can add more by choosing a career that best fits your character’s personality or motivations, or that will bring greater tension to your story—and the best book to inspire you in this is The Occupation Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

An occupation for your character can help characterize them, generate conflict, reveal dysfunction, or reveal their passion and quirks. The Occupation Thesaurus details many jobs, giving an overview of each job; the useful skills, talents, or abilities for the job; helpful character traits; sources of friction; people they might interact with; how the job might impact your character’s needs; ways to twist the stereotype; and reasons a character might choose this profession. It is sure to spark your own thoughts on why and how an occupation may impact your character.

The Occupation Thesaurus doesn’t just describe many jobs, it also explores why your character might choose—or run from—a particular job, including because of their needs, emotional wounds, and interests and passions. It explains how a job can characterize your character, revealing personality traits, talents and skills, hobbies, economic status, and more, and the ways a job may bring tension and conflict. The articles are thoughtful and insightful, with concrete examples that make it clear how the profession you choose for a character can reveal more about the character, affect the storyline, increase tension, help your character achieve their goal, and even awaken a character’s need for change. This book is full of great advice for writers, including skipping the boring stuff, dismantling stereotypes, and being specific.

The Occupation Thesaurus also includes some great bonuses at the back of the book, including a worksheet; occupation speed dating (choosing an occupation from your character’s personality type); a career assessment worksheet and example; career assessment cheat sheet; and recommended reading list.

            The Occupation Thesaurus will have you looking at occupations in a whole new way, delving deeper into the psychological, motivation, and need aspects, as well as the source of potential conflict or growth. Highly recommended.


Check out these awesome bonus articles to celebrate The Occupation Therausus:

Crafting Deep Fiction: How Emotional Wounds Can Steer a Character’s Job Choice

The Character Building Detail Writers Shouldn’t Overlook

A Character’s Occupation Is More Important Than You Might Think

You can also find some bonus occupation entries on Angela and Becca’s blog.


To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles for Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

Happy writing to all!

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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2 Responses to A Great New Tool For Writers: The Occupation Thesaurus

  1. Angela says:

    Cheryl, thank you so much for such a wonderful review! I hope this one will really get writers thinking about all the incredible ways they can utilize their character’s job. It’s really amazing all the ways it can add depth to the character and story, and remind readers of their own struggles, concerns, hopes, and goals.

    Huge hugs for all your help on the ST, too! <3

    • I’m sure it will, Angela! (smiling at you) You got me thinking about jobs in ways I hadn’t before. I LOVE the psychological layers, the depth that you both added to thinking about the ways a character’s job can reveal dysfunction, needs, tension in the book, and so much more. This is another fantastic tool for authors!

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