Below are samples of our current thesaurus collections, containing hundreds of descriptive entries to help you add texture and authenticity to your writing.

one-stop-for-writers-badge-xsmallFor the fully developed version of each collection, please visit their permanent home, One Stop For Writers.


Weather & Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus:

Create the perfect mood and atmosphere for your scene using emotion-targeted sensory description.

Physical Feature Thesaurus:

Hone in on your character’s specific physical features to describes them in a compelling and memorable way, all the while providing clues to the reader about who they really are.

Character Trait Thesaurus (Samples):

Browse this collection of cardinal personality profiles which have been expanded to become The Positive Thesaurus & The Negative Thesaurus books.

Color, Texture, and Shape Thesaurus

Add layers to your description by choosing the perfect comparison, simile, or metaphor for different shapes, colors, and textures in the natural and urban worlds.

Setting Thesaurus

Make your scene descriptions come alive by including smells, sights, tastes, sounds, and textures to your setting. Over 100 different fictional settings are profiled here.

Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus

Deepen the meaning of your story through the use of iconic symbolism for different literary themes (the passage of time, coming of age, etc.).

Emotion Thesaurus (Samples)

Avoid frowns, shrugs, smiles, and eye rolls as you craft unique body language, thoughts, visceral sensations, and action for any emotion your character chooses to express. This sample of blog entries has been expanded into the comprehensive Emotion Thesaurus reference book.

The Talents and Skills Thesaurus

Add authenticity to your characters by giving them skills or talents that make them unique and interesting.

NEW! Emotional Wounds Thesaurus

Emotional wounds from the past have the power to greatly impact our characters’ personalities and choices in the future. Get to know your characters intimately by choosing the right emotional wound; understanding its effects will enable you to write realistic, fully-formed characters that resonate with readers and make sense for your story.


  1. dbenson37 says:

    Has there been any thought about a book on similes? I am anxiously awaiting the new thesaurus coming in June, but coming up with a powerful or even a simple simile sometimes becomes taxing. It doesn’t have to be an entire book. It could be an add-on to what you already have on this site.

  2. As always, very helpful!!

  3. Keri says:

    Are you planning on doing one on physical motion and movement? It would be helpful in my editing if I were able to describe characters movements in a variety of ways. I like to add a depth to my characters by giving them movement. For example, a regular thesaurus tells me alternate words for walk is: march, parade, step, and so on. I’m looking for shuffled, limped, ambled, etc. I am also looking for replacements for phrases such as ‘walked around’, ‘walked behind’…

  4. Pingback: Emotion Dictionaries for Writers « Beach Reads...

  5. Pingback: Best Sites for Writers

  6. Pingback: Even Villains Need Some Affection |

  7. Pingback: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015 | threesides

  8. Joanne says:

    I don’t comment often but I sure enjoy your information. Question: I have purchased the Emotion Thesaurus and find it very useful. Will you be publishing the other Thesauruses in hardback?
    The guests commentators on your site offer really great input. I look forward to seeing Writers Helping Writers pop up on my computer. Thank you.

    • Hi, Joanne. I’m so glad you’re finding helpful information at our site, and that your copy of the Emotion Thesaurus is coming in handy :). I don’t know if you’re aware, but there’s a free companion to that book called Emotion Amplifiers; you can download a copy at Amazon or Smashwords. We also have a published version of our Character Traits Thesaurus; that one is in two volumes, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Those are available in print and digital copies; you can find distribution sites on our Bookstore page. The Setting Thesaurus is the next collection that will be turned into book form. That will have two volumes also (Urban and Rural settings), and those are due out in late spring. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Happy writing!

  9. Julio Novoa says:

    Dearest Becca:
    First of all, thank you for this outstanding site. I bought the book about Positive traits and I love it. However I have a hard time trying to describe old, creaking, wooden floor, and all the words that I think of, do not fit in. How would you describe this type of floor in an abandoned house? You have to watch out because the floors are uneven, you may fall, etc, etc….

    • Hi, Julio. I’m so glad you’re finding the Positive Traits book helpful. As far as describing the old wooden floor, I would focus on words that show how it sounds and feels. Write a paragraph about your main character crossing the floor in the dark, where he can’t see and must instead rely on his other senses. His toes stub the uneven edges of the warped boards. He slides his feet across the rough boards, feeling the spots where the finish has worn off. The sound of the boards creaking is loud in the dark. This description isn’t one you’re likely to use in your story, but it will give you ideas for what details can be used to make your descriptions more vivid and realistic for readers. I hope this helps!

  10. Pingback: YA Author Ingrid Sundberg’s Color Thesaurus for Writers | erica alex

  11. Pingback: My Favorite Writing Resources List | C. Murray

  12. Pingback: Story and Structure Resources to Help You Prep for NaNoWriMo | Paving My Author's Road

  13. Pingback: Why I'm doing NaNoWriMo after all - test driving a new set of tools - Bigger on the Inside - Teddi Deppner

  14. Dheera Kitchlu says:

    Thank you so much! This is a gold mine here…food for thought and composition. So much hard work to benefit writers. This is an amazing legacy. Most grateful!

  15. Pingback: What’s in a Name? | The Pria Chronicles

  16. How would you describe yearning in a child. Like they want to do something but are afraid.

    • I would describe the thought process of wanting something and then the fears. Also think hesitation and start/stopping in body language and action.Like taking steps forward, then stpping, reversing direction, that sort of thing. Or making a decision, and then reversing the decision.

  17. Russell says:

    How would you describe the sounds of a fiddle being played?

  18. Pingback: Twitter Tuesday: Creative Minds | Bohemian Nerd

  19. DJ says:

    Do the two of you ever plan on attempting to possibly turn all of these into books (physical and/or eBook) in the future? The reason I’m only asking because I think it would be great to have them as a use. Especially for those who are on the road, having no way to connect to the internet, or just not wanting to actually be on the internet at that given time due to whatever given reasons. (Such as getting easily distracted and whatnot.) If not, that’s fine! I can just come back and forth with looking all of this up on here! ^^;;

    • Hi, DJ. I’m glad you’re finding so much of our content useful. Some of it we will be turning into books; the Setting Thesaurus, for example, should be out this winter *fingers crossed*. But some of the material we won’t be publishing, because not all of it is in high demand. So yes and no :).

      • DJ says:

        Hey! Some is better than none! So I’m not complaining. Either way, I’ll be using this site in one way or another regardless of the situation.

  20. Pingback: Genre/Present/Futuristic/Odds and Ends | verysherryterry

  21. Pingback: 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015! Part 1 | Writer's Haven

  22. Pingback: Self-Editing: Second Pass | Worldbinding

  23. Chellie says:

    Would you be willing to come up with a thesaurus for smells.

    • Hi, Chellie! We’re always open to new ideas :). What kind of information would this cover?

      • Chellie says:

        The description for smells is extensive, but I will try to narrow it down to a shorter version of what I was thinking. It would combine a lot of what you already have, but I think it would help writers become more rich in their story telling. I am not as good a writer as others I have not been doing it long.

        I must admit I am guilty of not taking the time or attention to identify smells, I have been trying to remember to do it in different situations, but those who are a lot like me that do not smell as well as others do.

        I compensate by adding verbs to smells, kind of like bringing them to a little bit of life, such as waft, surround, wrap, assault etc…

        Like others when I hear sounds, smell things or feel specific feelings they will spark or trigger memories which in turn elicit emotions, connect smells with emotions.

        Sometimes smells will cause images to form in my mind, sometimes they are not even related to the smell, I am sure I am not the only one who does this.

        I can try to put together something for you, but it will take a while, smells are the most difficult thing to do, but I cannot do it alone.

        • Ok, I think I see what you’re saying. I can see how something like this would be helpful. Please don’t go to any trouble putting anything together, only because I don’t know when/if we would be able to do a Smells Thesaurus (since we have a list of possible thesauri that we’re working through). We will add this one to the list of possibilities and see what happens :). Thanks so much for your input, Chellie!

  24. Pingback: WORD BOMB or COLLOQUY TOPEDO (372 words) | ecarlatedeecrire

  25. Pingback: Lyla's Top 5 Tips for Novice Writers - Momma Didn't Say

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *