Suggestion Box

writershelpingwriters_logo_6x6inch_final_optHave an idea for a new Thesaurus Collection you’d like to see? Pining for a special Tool or Resource? Have an entry for an existing thesaurus that is on your Wish List?

Or maybe you’d just like to leave us a comment about how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you!


154 Responses to Suggestion Box

  1. Jeffrey Strain says:

    Just wanted to let you know you made our list of writing blogs to follow in 2017

  2. Kev C says:

    Hi folks,

    Firstly, thanks for all the great info and advice you’ve shared – it was a huge help writing my first book and continues to be so.
    Now I’m getting started on the next, I’d looking for guidance on how much set-up you need for the second novel in a series.
    Do you need enough so it can stand on its own or can you assume readers will go to book one first?
    Any advice much appreciated.



    • Hi, Kev. Kudos to you for finishing book one! That’s a huge accomplishment in itself. Now, I’m no expect, so maybe someone who IS will chime in with the golden answer to your question. But speaking as a reader, I need enough information from book 1 to make book 2 make sense—but not in a way that turns the opening pages of book 2 into a huge info dump. It’s that balance of just barely enough, and not a speck more, so I can understand what’s happening without getting bored and skimming past to where the story actually starts. The problem with many second books is that authors feel like they have to do a complete recap of the first book. As is so often the case, we overestimate the amount of information that readers need. Stick to just the facts that are necessary for readers to know what’s going on, and get into the real story. My two cents :).

  3. Fernando says:


    The Emotion thesaurus has helped me greatly.Thank you for that.

    As for my suggestion, I would love a fight and battle thesaurus as I always struggle to write this kind of scene.

  4. Jerry Doty says:

    Since I am writing a series of fiction novels , I would love a book on Physical Characterices. ie: A thesaurus that covers every body part and how to describe it. Face shap, Hair, eyebrowsm eyelashes, eyes, nose, ears, lips, misc facial: crows feet, laugh limes, dimples… It would move down the body: neck, shoukders, torso,marms, hands, fingers, thighs, buttox, toes, knees…… As a writer of a novel ser,ies, this wou,d help keep each character consistent throughout the series save anything that change due to growth. this would do for writers what a script supervisor does for a movie.

    Thank you for comsidering this. I have All of your
    Current Thesaurus’ and they are totally invaluable to me. In fact I bought two of each: one hardcovy and one pdf. Ikeep them on my writing desk amd refer to,them often. Each format has it ‘s benefits.

    • Hi, Jerry! Thanks for letting us know what you’d like to see next from Writers Helping Writers. I’m not sure if you’re aware that we have an online version of the Physical Features Thesaurus? I couldn’t tell for sure but wanted to mention it, since it covers pretty much what you’ve described above.

      In terms of a book, we unfortunately don’t have plans to publish this one at the moment. When it comes to deciding which online collections to turn into books, we have to consider the popularity of each thesaurus. While this one has been well received, it just hasn’t garnered enough attention to warrant publishing it. I’m sorry we don’t have better news for you. In the meantime, you can check out the online collection at Writers Helping Writers, or the entire updated Physical Feature Thesaurus can be seen with a subscription to One Stop For Writers. Best of luck with your writing! Becca

  5. Claire says:

    I have an idea for a thesaurus you might start. Have you considered doing one on the traits of various psychiatric disorders and disabilities? As in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, and stuff like that? That would make for a good thesaurus so people can more accurately depict such things.

  6. Michael says:

    I’ve just found this website and so far it looks amazing. I’d really appreciate a workplace terminology dictionary as opposed to a thesaurus – particularly for areas like police precincts, fire houses and dentists. The day-to-day terminology that adds flavour to stories is actually quite difficult to find and use correctly, especially as it varies from state to state, country to country.

    • Hi Michael. Very glad you found your way to WHW. 🙂 One thing we’ve discovered in writing the Setting Thesaurus books (which include hospital and police locations) is that different areas/countries use different terminology, as you’ve yourself have noticed. This is why we’ve stayed away from getting too deep into terminology lists (other than using them in the setting entries for the Urban Setting Thesaurus book), and even with those we recommend writers investigate the real world location where their story takes place to ensure descriptive terms match up. If you’re looking for a source of information on this, do some googling that is country or city-specific, and I’m sure you’ll find some sites out there. Look at you tube as well–I found a lot of “walkthrough” type videos that helped me with localized terminology for things like an ambulance interior, a police station, a police car, psych ward, even a taxidermy. 🙂

  7. Luke Palder says:

    Dear Writers Helping Writers,

    My company wrote and designed an infographic titled “128 Words to Use Instead of ‘Very,'” located here:

    We created it with creative writers in mind, and I think it’d be a great fit for the Writers Helping Writers blog. Because I think your audience could really benefit, I hope you’ll choose to post it.



  8. Eve Stewart says:

    More questions than suggestions but oh well.
    Do you guys have any plans for more Thesauri?
    Is there a place I can sign up so I’m notified when you have new books coming out?

    The Thesauri have been a great help to my writing. I’ve read through the Emotion, Negative Character Traits, and Positive Character Traits at least once and use them constantly for referencing while writing. I’m now making through the Rural Settings and Urban Settings books as I just recently got them. I would not be opposed to seeing more Thesauri books to come in the future.

  9. Glynis Jolly says:

    I love your Emotional Wound series. Although I have the Emotional Thesaurus, somehow reading the information in the style of an article helps tremendously. Could you do a post about the wound from physical and emotional abuse from parents, both dealing with someone who has be through it and from the point of the victim? Also could you do one one someone who has to deal with someone who had a mental illness?

    • Hi Glynis, very glad you are getting help from this thesaurus. As to your question, both physical and emotional abuse takes many forms, with different outcomes, and so are difficult to cover in a single entry. I would recommend looking through the entries listed on our main page as there will be some there that may help. 🙂 Mental illness is one we could do, but there are a few variations of it as well. Thanks for the feedback!

  10. Julie Reich says:

    Angela and Becca,
    I love Writers Helping Writers and One Stop for Writers, and your thesauri are so helpful. One gentle suggestion I’d like to make is to include a link to Indiebound in addition to Amazon and B&N in your bookstore. Independent book sellers need support from writers like us!


    • Hi Julie,

      Yes this has been brought up a few times now and as I have mentioned before, we will add this in for sure. We’ve just been incredibly busy, but it will get done.

  11. Tammie DenBoer says:

    I absolutely love the, One Stop for Writers! I own all of thesaurus you have published, and knew if the books were a great resource so would One Stop for Writers. I didn’t hesitate to pay for the extra services. I am currently using the worksheet, finding myself more organized and in return writing faster and smoother.
    But, I seem to get into a rut with dialogue tags and action tags. A dialogue reference would be awesome to help jolt one out of a funk. A thesaurus, with alternative dialogue tags and action tags for said, whispered, laughed, etc…, along with descriptive phrases and adjectives. Do you have a suggestion on a dialogue thesaurus, or is one in the works for the future?

    Thanks, Tam.

    • Hi, Tam. I’m so glad you’re enjoying One Stop! And I understand the difficulty that dialogue can cause. There’s so much to remember—mechanically, but also stylistically, making it as realistic and believable as possible. Angela and I are always looking for new thesaurus ideas, so we’ll put this one in the hopper. I will say, though, that at first blush, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make this one work, and the reason is this: while we typically don’t want to be repetitive with our word choices, we’ve found that 99% of the time, the simplest tags are best. Fancier dialogue tags stand out and start to draw attention to themselves after awhile while “said” has become somewhat invisible and can often accomplish your purposes when it’s accompanied with the right showing. When the dialogue is used in conjunction with beats of action from the speaker, we’ve found that speech tags aren’t strictly necessary. Take these examples, for instance:

      “Shut up.” Sharon glared at me for the longest second of my life before gently closing the door behind her.
      “Shut up!” Two steps, and Sharon was out the door, slamming the door behind her.
      “Shut up.” The words disappeared into Sharon’s clenched fists as tears tracked her cheeks.

      There are no dialogue tags here, but you can tell how the words were said and also infer a little something about either the speaker’s emotional state or their personality. Granted, some dialogue tags are fairly common and will accomplish your purposes without drawing undue attention, but usually, you can show how the words are spoken through the accompanying action or with a simple “said”. My five cents :).

  12. Erin says:

    Wow, lots of great stuff here. I have all of the thesauri you’ve published to date, but hadn’t ever looked at the website. Is it your intention to release the other online thesauri here in book form eventually? Just wondering because I know I try to use the internet as little as possible while actually writing. I’d rather grab a book off my shelf because if I log on the internet to find information, the chances are much, much, much higher that I will succumb to the siren’s song and end up surfing the web instead of putting words on the page. Thank you for the printed books that keep me from being pulled away from my work.

    • Hi Erin,

      Some of these thesaurus will become books (like the Wound Thesaurus) but the rest have been moved and expanded and now live at One Stop For Writers. What you see here is only a sample of what these thesaurus collections each entail. I know you don’t like working online (sorry!) but One Stop is a library that is online, and have everything in one place, all cross referenced and easy to search, because liek you, we want writers to make the most of their time and not be distracted trying to find things, so we put it all in one place. 🙂

  13. Sarah says:

    I struggle to add soul to my creative writing. Many of the greats have captured the zeitgeist–social or cultural movements of the time. others have written timeless pieces littered with a deep philosophical undertones. So, any tips on infusing soul within the body of work? What tips and tricks can one employ to pull this out of oneself? We all have these compelling thoughts and emotions, but they often don’t meet the page. Help!

    • Think about the themes that stand out to you, the ones that you want to explore most, maybe ones that unconsciously come up in your writing again and again. Are all your stories about the brokenness of families? If so, why is that? What is at the root? Why does this theme call to you? Then, take a step back, because it sounds like you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. 🙂

      Think in terms of plot–how can you build a story around this theme (or belief, situation, idea, etc.)? How might a plot form around this situation? What type of character is the least suited to deal with this element, yet is placed in the path of it? Write some ideas down, and go from there. 🙂 You could always practice with a few outlines, or a short story or two. And remember these bigger ideas and philosophies take time to emerge. Start with the story, and then pull at the shape of it and what you really want to say, bringing it out through the story, characters and situations.

      I hope this helps!


  14. Hello writers, Woo-hoo!

    Congrats on the new release for Rural and Urban settings what a splendid idea!

    I often wondered about IDIOMS. Not sure about you, but I LOVE i
    a good idiom, phrase or saying. Our cultures are filled with these and we don’t even realize it. I just wondered if you were to make that into a book or online resource. Obviously it would be pretty massive though. I work with people all day long and hear their style of speech, quite fascinating! Even the way of speaking reflects a certain era, age period or thought held during that time. Cool stuff.

    There’s regional idioms, local, national, business, cultural, ethnic, military, gender etc. I’m not sure if someone else has already raised this question before, but I think I could be a rather useful tool.


  15. Eva Calderon says:

    I would love to see a thesaurus on ‘obstacles’. I find one of the toughest things for me is trying to think of obstacles for my characters, and trying to make the obstacles increase in intensity is even harder. I love all of your other thesauruses and have purchased all of them. They are a huge help.

  16. Charmaine says:

    Is sexy an emotion? Is that covered or will it be covered in one of your books?

  17. Hi Angela, I use all of your books religiously! love them! thank you! Do you have or are you creating or know of…a 5 senses thesaurus. I cant find one that describes smells, and tastes and so on. But would LOVE it so much. Thanks ! xx

    • So very glad you find our books to be a help! And you have good timing. 🙂 Becca and I are working on 2 new setting books, which look at the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures associated with over 200 different fictional settings. 🙂 These will be available in June. But if you don’t want to wait, you can find a huge selection of these sensory entries in the Setting Thesaurus at One Stop for Writers. :

      Happy writing! 🙂


  18. Hi,

    I clicked on the download to the free companion book to The Emotions Thesaurus (I own the paperback and the eBook). After downloading, I had difficulty getting back to your site. I’ve just revamped my website and used WordPress. Links to order books play better if they open a new tab. Then I can just click Amazon closed, and I’m back to your site. Also, on my site that I am currently building, I have a bibliography of recommended books and included your trio of thesauruses. I used your book covers from Amazon and linked to this site. I hope you don’t mind. If you do, I will remove the book covers. Thanks for providing all writers with great reference books.

    • Thanks Eugene–we are planning on some site maintenance, so I’ll check our links to make sure they open to a new tab. Have a terrific New Years, and thank you so much for your recommendations of our books–we’re honored! 🙂

  19. Stephen McDaniel says:

    Love all three Thesaurus books. Far and away the most specific and helpful resources of their kind I have run across. I would like to make two comments.

    Almost everything in the way of Writing Craft instruction implicitly describes a single novel or story. Story arc and character arc apply in a stand alone, complete story, but not in a series character, at least not in the same way. A series character can progress certainly, but cannot complete a transformative arc in every book.

    Additionally, there are many well-loved fictional characters who are rather simplistic in terms of character development and complexity. Think Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Poirot, and more recently Adam Dalgleish, Lew Archer, and Phillip Marlowe. None of these are well rounded or have any great depth. They are, nevertheless, well realized and consistent from book to book. So I think it’s possible to tell an engrossing story that uses a protagonist with one or two or three very strong qualities which are quirky or unusual.

  20. Sia says:


    I just want to share with you a really great infographic ‘Unusual Jobs Of Famous Writers’. This infographic tells you about different little-known facts of your favorite writers’ biography. Original Source of Infographic –

    Please, consider sharing it among your readers. It would be an honour to be a part of your blog.

    Feel free to contact me if you need any additional information.


  21. Catherine A Winn says:

    Hi, I just wanted you to know that ages ago when I was a newbie, I used to print off the Emotion Thesaurus pages, the ones I needed, as you posted them on your original blog. They really helped improve my writing, for example, my characters, a crit partner told me, “sure do smile a lot” in tag lines and they did– a whole lot! Anyway, i’m published now and when I picked up those old, well worn pages to edit another manuscript I wondered what was wrong with me. You had a whole book of all of them, not just the few I printed. I immediately ordered a print copy from Amazon.
    I want to say THANK YOU, without your help to this newbie years ago, I know I wouldn’t have come as far as I have this quickly!

    • Catherine, thanks for the note! We all start somewhere and sometimes it is fun to see how far we’ve all come, isn’t it. Becca and I are honored we got to be a small part of your journey, and are wishing you all the success in the world. 🙂

  22. Valli says:


    Recently I have bought your kindle edition of Emotion thesaurus. I have bought your book not for writing but for my son. I am a mum of special need child. I would like to talk about a proposal. Could you please email me personally so that I can share my number, if you are interested.


  23. Chris Mackey says:

    I would love to see a tool, book, or blog that helps writers like myself with imagery. I think I suffer from what’s considered “boring writing.” I can see a vivid picture in my mind of a scene, but I have problems reflecting my mental image into words that prick at the readers’ minds so they can share that image.

    • Hi, Chris. I agree that imagery can be tough. This is an interesting idea for a thesaurus. I’m not sure what a thesaurus on imagery would look like at this point, but it’s something to add to our idea box.

      • Chris Mackey says:

        BTW, I want to tell you that I bought your book, The Emotion Thesaurus. It has greatly helped me. I’m going back through my manuscripts and fixing my “emotion” problems with my characters based on your thesaurus. I’d like to thank you hear, as well as on my book’s appreciation page. Thanks so much for writing a very in-depth tool for us writers. 🙂

        • Chris Mackey says:


        • Thanks for the encouraging note, Chris. I’m so glad you’re not experiencing any buyer’s remorse after your purchase ;). Did you know that we also have a free companion booklet for The Emotion Thesaurus? It’s called Emotion Amplifiers and can be downloaded for free at Amazon. You can find more information here. Happy writing!

  24. Karyn Patterson says:

    I would LOVE to have a resource for a list of character tags and quirks. I mean, this could really be something that could be added onto forever, but sometimes it’s just so hard for me to think up a gesture or mannerism that is unique to that character, such as always chewing on a toothpick, popping gum, etc. I find these kinds of traits really add to what makes a character memorable, but I know many of them are as unique as the character themselves, which may present a problem with writing just one book on the subject. It might be fun to have a list that can be added to on the blog (if that’s even possible), or even books and subsequent books that one can either “steal” from or just use as a springboard to brainstorm ideas. Just a thought. Love your books.

    • Hi, Karyn! Thanks for the suggestion. We actually will be offering something similar to this in our upcoming One Stop for Writers software. Stay tuned for more details :).

      In the meantime, I agree that quirks are so helpful when you want to make your characters unique and memorable. As I’ve studied the quirks of real people in my life, I’ve seen that oftentimes (though obviously not always) they come directly out of past wounds or current fears. So if you’re aware of these things for your character, they may help you come up with some believable quirks that make sense with the rest of his/her personality.

  25. Al Macy says:

    I’d like to see the list of negative traits before I buy the book. If that exists somewhere, could you email me the link?

    I suggest that you structure the ebook so that that list shows up in the sample.

    I use The Emotion Thesaurus all the time, but I need to get a feeling for the traits you describe before spending $5.99.



  26. Maddy says:

    Hello, First off I love this site so much, it has helped me so much with everything.
    This might relate to the losing a loved one topic but i was stuck on trying out how to describe the feeling someone gets when a loved one is dying in their arms. It would be wonderful if you could help me out or point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance.

    • Hi, Maddy. First, when describing feelings, I always advocate the application of first-hand experience, but hopefully you haven’t had to go through this situation. The next idea would be to put yourself in the shoes of the character. If you were him/her, how would you feel? What thoughts would be going through your mind? Would it be racing wildly, jumping from one thought to another, or would it be blank? What would be happening to your body, both internally and externally? (nausea, numbness, adrenaline rush, the eyes, the muscles, etc.). How about the voice? Is it faint, cracking, whispering, forcefully loud, stuttering? Sometimes, it’s helpful to watch a movie where this situation is playing out. See what the actor is doing, how he’s portraying the emotion. If the scene is realistic, it can give you ideas on how a person might realistically respond. But remember that each character is different. Your character’s responses should make sense for your character and your story, so keep that in mind when crafting a highly emotional scene like this one. Best of luck!

  27. AK says:

    Hi! Love your books!
    What about a “Action Beat Thesaurus” ???
    Different movements and tags for dialogue??


    • Hi AK,

      Becca and I try to reinforce that writers should always make sure their characters move and act in ways that have strong purpose, either to show the character’s emotions or to supply characterization through action. This adds dimension to everything a character says or does, drawing readers deeper into the character’s world. So we always recommend people check out the actions supplied in the Emotion Thesaurus and Emotion Amplifiers for ideas. Body language is the perfect compliment to dialogue, reinforcing show, don’t tell. 🙂

  28. Sarah says:

    Hello, first of all your amazing site helps me so much. Thank you.
    Well i was working i had a sudden thought, you may, may not be interested. My idea was for a clothing thesaurus. Clothing can give us a great insight into a characters personality.
    Thanks again.

  29. Dawn Mattox says:

    Please consider adding “Office” to your setting category and thank you for this wonderful resource. Very helpful when Writer’s Block rears its ugly head.

  30. Maddy says:

    Hey, I love this site it really helps me with my stories. I’ve never seen a site that’s this helpful, I;m just starting out at writing and this has helped me so much. I was just wondering if by any chance you may be able to add a section on how to describe someone who is bored, this would really help me out with my story. Thanks in advance!

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