one-stop-for-writers-badge-xsmallBelow are samples of our current thesaurus collections containing hundreds of descriptive entries to help you add texture and authenticity to your writing. 

For the fully developed version of each collection, please visit their permanent home at One Stop For Writers®.

NEW! Occupation Thesaurus: What job should your character have? What does this say about his goals, passions, or priorities? Careers are important not only for helping define your characters but also as a means of furthering their overall story goals.

Character Motivation Thesaurus: What’s your character’s overall goal? Why does he want it so badly? What might he have to sacrifice in order to achieve it? What roadblocks could stand in his way? Flesh out your character’s inner and outer goals, as well as their inner and outer conflict, so it all makes the most sense for you and for readers.

Weather & Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus (Samples): Create the perfect mood and atmosphere for your scene using emotion-targeted sensory description.

Physical Feature Thesaurus (Samples): 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.

positive-and-negative-thesaurus-books-2Character Trait Thesaurus (Samples): Browse this collection of cardinal personality profiles which have been expanded to become The Positive Thesaurus & The Negative Thesaurus books. The complete collections can also be found at One Stop For Writers®.

Color, Texture, and Shape Thesaurus (Samples): 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.

The Setting Thesaurus DuoSetting Thesaurus (Samples): 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—a sampling of the 225 expanded and enhanced entries that are available in the Urban & Rural Setting Thesaurus books. The complete collection can also be found at One Stop For Writers®.

Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus (Samples): Deepen the meaning of your story through the use of iconic symbolism for different literary themes (the passage of time, coming of age, etc.).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00058]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 and enhanced even further at One Stop For Writers®.

The Talent and Skill Thesaurus: Add authenticity to your characters by giving them skills or talents that make them unique and interesting.

Emotional Wound Thesaurus (Samples): 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. The full and enhanced version of this thesaurus can be found at One Stop For Writers®.

Emotion Amplifiers High ResNEW TO OUR BOOKS?

Start out with our free ebooklet, Emotion Amplifiers. This small companion for our popular Emotion Thesaurus contains some bonus entries on states that cause characters to become more emotionally volatile, like Stress, Hunger, Pain, and Attraction. It’s great for adding tension, creating complications, and encouraging your character to make mistakes.


If you are a fan of our strange yet incredibly helpful books and want to know when the next one will be available (The Emotional Wound Thesaurus), just add your email here. We’ll fire off a quick notification as soon as it hits the shelves.  🙂

















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  2. patricia faithfull says:

    In the Negative Trait Thesaurus, Appendix A: Needs and Lies, the Associated Needs and Lies would be souch easier to view, understand and internalize if the information was s into 2 columns. That way the Need and the Lie ( the dicotomoy) would be visually laid out side by side, instead of 6 or 16 lines later.

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  6. 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.

  7. As always, very helpful!!

  8. 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’…

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  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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  19. 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!

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  21. 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.

  22. Russell says:

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

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  24. 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.

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  28. 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!

          • Judi Ring says:

            Becca, I hate to ask for more as you already have so much wonderful information here. However, I’d like a book like the one asked for above, especially if it could cover all the senses. Smell, taste, touch, sight, sound. To me it sounds like such a tall order that I think I’m asking for too much. But it would be so helpful (eyes cast heavenward in supplication). Oops, sorry for the flying body parts.

            I’ve bought all your thesauri in ebook form as they came out. Now I’m scraping the money together to get the hard copies.

            Whatever you want to put in book form I will buy and be thankful for. And I really appreciate your emails. I save most of your columns on my hard drive so I can use them at any time. Sorry use isn’t the word I want, but had a stroke in November of last year and words won’t always come.

          • Judi, there’s never any harm in asking. We’re always grateful for feedback from you all about what you’d like to see; it’s a part of what drives our choices regarding new thesauruses. We’ve added this idea to the hopper and will take your comments into account. And thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so glad that our books and resources are coming in handy :).

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