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!


235 Responses to Suggestion Box

  1. Kim Howard says:

    Thank you for such great references for new authors!

    I just finished the book “Save the Cat Writes a Novel” by Jessica Brody. I am one week into the two week free trial of One Stop for Writers (which I love!) and I was wondering you have any plans to create a scene template for the 15 beats? I know you have the Michael Hauge scene template. I haven’t read his book yet as it seems to be catered to screenwriters. Just hoping maybe you’ll consider adding a new scene template. Thanks!

    • Glad you’re enjoying the trial! We have talked about bringing on a few of the other most popular methods. We have a few really big projects to clear first, but it’s in our idea database for new developments. I also like Save the Cat (still have to read the Writes a |Novel one tho!) and I will use Timelines to create the beats. Maybe give that a try?

  2. Jaclyn Roche says:

    Hello The Main Conflict Thesaurus page doesn’t list all the entry posts you’ve made. Is there an updated page that you can point me to?

  3. Wynkies says:

    Um, when you publish a type of conflict on your blog (ie, a “conflict thesaurus entry” on your blog like today’s post), how’s about adding a link to it on your Conflict Thesaurus blog page? That would make it easy for folks to keep finding it! (Yes, I realize this is a “duh” and probably just a teensy oversight on your part.) Thanks!

  4. jeff says:

    Hello Angela,

    I’m Gen Psych Professor at a local private and I just came across the concept and word Character Wound because one of our psychiatrists used the term; however, I am wondering if your terms have been validated by research measures. You may have conducted extensive research already and my question will feel naive. I believe that valid terms and designations do exist outside of DSM or ICD(like co-dependency). However, is their construct validity with this term like CW being correlated with PCL-C or Dissociative indexes?

    Thanks for responding.

    • Hi, Jeff. Thanks for reaching out with your question. The term “wound” is one we came up with to describe the past trauma a character may have experienced that has gotten them stuck somehow in their current life. As authors (rather than mental health experts) we did a lot of research into the psychology of wounds to understand how they tend to work in reality, because we wanted authors to be able to write fiction and characters that mirrored real life. As such, we didn’t seek to correlate our terms with the indexes you’ve mentioned—though, of course, it’s possible that those connections exist :). Does that answer your question?

      • jeff says:


        Thanks for responding. And I definitely appreciate your efforts in developing a Taxonomy for the phenomena of wounds! I teach general psych and approach my question the way I teach my students in psychology to: ask questions, investigate methods, seek data. I really appreciate ‘outside efforts’ to establish validity and descriptive accuracy of what people are going through. I understand that answering my question about research might cross proprietary lines about sources. I’m still curious about methods you used and you may answer me at if you wish to 🙂 respond privately. Thanks again for responding to my question.

  5. Robin says:

    Why do authors insist on writing huge books about “tight” writing?!!!
    Will Strunk said, “Omit needless words!” “Make every word tell!” And a famous French architect said, “Less is more”.
    Hell…I wish those ‘writers’ would get on ‘that’ bloody program!

  6. Sunny says:

    Hi, I absolutely love your thesaurus collection, it’s been such a valuable resource over the years, I don’t know what I’d do without it! I recently downloaded the urban setting thesaurus, excited to have finally found the perfect reference to help me with this one specific setting I’ve been struggling to write. And thus I learned an important lesson about checking the table of contents before whipping out the credit card, because it just so happens that one specific setting is the one location that doesn’t crop up anywhere in the pages (jk, I’ve learned no such lesson, this book is great and I have no regrets, impulse shopping has once again emerged victorious, eyes closed, head first, can’t lose XD).

    Then I recently saw that you guys published a second edition of the emotion thesaurus with added entries, and I was wondering if the other thesauruses might end up getting revamped as well? If so, let me be the first (or not, I didn’t exactly scroll through all the previous messages here, there very well may be hundreds of people requesting different settings, but I am lazy and my shields of narcissistic denial are strong so if I’m not aware of there existence they obviously do not exist) to offer a suggestion for the urban setting thesaurus: ROOFTOPS

    I feel like a lot of people would find an entry on rooftops incredibly useful; I know I, for one, know pretty much diddly squat about them. City rooftops are not a location a lot of people can easily access, and if you are in a city, and the building you’re in does happen to have roof access, it’s oftentimes restricted. And I can tell you from personal experience that trying to research this subject is a headache of slogging through hundreds of hotel/restaurant/condo sites advertising their luxury rooftops pools/bars/etc (Which, granted, can be useful depending on what you’re looking to write, but sometimes you want your character to be able to crouch on some rooftop overlooking the old abandoned meat-packing district to spy on a clandestine deal happening below without him having to wade through a heated infinity pool or getting interrupted by a cocktail waiter looking to take his order, ya know?). Now, with some highly-skilled google-fu you might be able to narrow down the search enough to learn about city roofs from a constructional point of view, you know, the materials, the technical terms, etc., and while that’s slightly more helpful, I’m stymied by the fact that as a non-construction worker my practical experience with these things is limited. I may learn the name of a material often used in the construction of roofs, but I still don’t know what that material looks like/how it smells/the feel of it under your feet/how it might look after years of wear and tear and countless cigarette butts ground into it beneath the shoes of underpaid workers sneaking out for a quick smoke/etc.

    So yeah, I guess that was my long rambling way of saying that if you ever were thinking publishing a second edition of the urban setting thesaurus, I would love it if there were an entry on city rooftops! 🙂

    (And if you feel you don’t have enough additional settings to justify a second edition, I will gladly spew more ideas at you ;D)

    • Hi, Sunny. I’m so glad to know that you were happy with your purchase. To answer your first question about other second editions, we don’t have any more of those in the works. We chose that for the Emotion Thesaurus because, since it was our first book, it was pretty small, and we knew we could do more with it. The other books are pretty sizable already, and making them bigger makes it more difficult to keep the price reasonable, so 2nd editions probably aren’t going to happen for them.

      As for your Urban Rooftop setting, that’s a great entry—especially the kind of rooftop that would be used for clandestine purposes, like spying on someone or running from the authorities. The tough thing about publishing a book is that we can’t go back and add content very easily. But that’s one thing we’re loving about One Stop for Writers: we can add whatever we want to whenever we want to :). So we will be adding this to our list of entries to write—which, I have to say, is getting pretty long. So it might be a while before we’re able to get to this one, but it will definitely be there eventually. Thanks again for telling us what you think about our products and letting us know what would be most useful for you.

  7. Jovan Ivančević says:

    As Serbian writting in English, but lacking in fluid English I am in problem because my stories lack of final touch. Most stories I have created are full of irony and, as history fun, I like to mix amd mash different epochs, like in stories “The NEw Gods”, or ” Julius Caesar VS Napoleon”. I about to try to create Odyssey~s journey in novel fashion. My question is do you have any writer out there who would tackle with mine ideas for mutual benefits?
    Sincerelly Yours

    • Hi, Jovan. If I understand your question correctly, you’re looking for a partner to either share the writing of your stories or help you polish them up so they’re clean. If this is right, have a look at the Recommended Writing Communities section of our Resources for Writers page. There, you can find a community that matches the type of book you’re writing and can reach out to see if there’s anyone who might be willing to partner up. Best of luck!

  8. Lauren says:

    Idea for a thesaurus! Maybe a Physical Injury and Wound one? Detailing different types of injuries (head injuries, stab wounds, etc) and maybe even wounds that don’t result from a fight (botched surgery/abortion leading to bleeding, poisoning, etc) and the consequences of what would happen and any possible psychological trauma that comes with it.

    • Hi Lauren, thanks for the idea. 🙂

      It’s a possibility but a bit far down on our list as there are other sites that have this information (usually the blog owner is a writer/paramedic or writer/doctor), and the psychological effects of injuries, illnesses, disfigurations, conditions, disabilities, etc. are something we’ve already covered in the Emotional Wound Thesaurus: (scroll to Disabilities and Disfigurements)

      I hope this helps!

      • Lauren says:

        Thanks for taking the time to reply! Do you by chance know of any useful blog sites with such information?

        • Wynkies says:

          Try looking at Writers Digest books, and source books for murder mystery writers. Eg, there are books about guns, forensics, and the like. I would not be surprised to find a medical type book among them.

  9. How about a power verb thesaurus?

  10. D. T. Nelson says:

    The emotional wound thesaurus has been quite useful in helping me solidify some of my characters’ motivations. However, there are several “wounds” that seem to be missing. Granted, it is impossible to cover every contingency, and some situations are so unique and specific to a small selection within a single genre (e.g. experiencing death and being resurected by a necromancer) that one can be forgiving for not including them. However, there are a few that were surprisingly absent given their common occurance. You have death of a parent and oneself receiving news of a terminal illness, and the chronic illness of a sibling. But what about the long term terminal illness of a parent (the slow deteriaration and inevitable death)? You include the character who experience the betrayal of a sibling. This can be used as a starting place to adjust to betrayal by a parent, or friend. But what of the wound received by the person who did the betraying—whether through anger or in the belief they were saving the person’s life? Perhaps there is enough material out there to write The Emotional Wound Thesaurus 2.

    • Thanks so much for letting us know your thoughts about this thesaurus. It’s something Angela and I constantly worry about—the idea that we could write a thesaurus and end up leaving important entries out. Obviously, none of our books are comprehensive; we know we can’t cover everything. But it’s always good to hear from writers what kinds of entries would like to see.

      While nothing is certain, I can say that we currently don’t have plans for a second Wound Thesaurus. The content in that book was so heavy; it was definitely the most difficult to write. It’s possible that we may add a few entries here and there to the Wound Thesaurus at One Stop for Writers, since it’s easy to add content there (which we wouldn’t be able to do in our existing book). So thanks again for the suggestions.

      • D T Nelson says:

        I know there are many writers who like the online resources like yours, but I find reference books on the shelf beside my computer far more useful and time-saving. (I also abhor the more costly subscription model for most things. It’s why I no longer use MS Word or any of the Adobe products like Photoshop) However, after looking the resource over I noticed in you have some additional “Settings” entires for speculative fiction. As a writer of fantasy (and other speculative fiction) this would be something I would definitely like to see in book form.

        I’ve already purchased the Emotion Thesaurus and Emotional Wound Thesaurus, but I’ve been going back and forth about purchasing the Urban and Rural Setting books because so much of it wouldn’t apply to my writing (though I will likely buy them in the end).

        A Speculative Fiction Setting Thesaurus with 120+ entries that encompassed a combination of urban and rural settings, multiple climates (arctic, desert, forest, ocean, mountain, etc), and explored multiple “old world” flavors beyond the standard European Middle Ages (i.e. Asian, Middle Eastern, African) would be something I, and many other speculative fiction writers, would jump at the chance to own (as would writers of historical fiction, I would think) I don’t know how much time I’ve spent searching out the sensory experiences like the feeling of the air near a blacksmith forge, the smell of a tannery, the sounds and motion of an old wooden ship on rough seas, guessing at the sights and aromas of an apothecary’s shop, the sounds and feelings of running through an African rainforest at night, and speculating on the sensory overload of walking through a crowded middle eastern bazaar.

        • Hi, DT. When we wrote the Setting Thesauruses, Angela and I discussed the possibility of a spec fiction volume. There are definitely enough to fill out a book, though it probably wouldn’t be as big as the others. Publishing two volumes at once almost killed us, so a third was out of the question ;). When it comes to our choices of what to publish next, we have to look at many factors, including what would help the widest array of authors, what would fill a gap in the market, etc. We haven’t ruled out a speculative setting thesaurus, but it’s not at the top of our list. It’s very possible we’ll do this at some point down the road, but if it happens, it will likely be a while. Sorry to not have better news, but I’d rather be as forthright about it as possible. Thanks for letting us know what would be helpful for you.

  11. Rebecca says:

    I absolutely love your thesaurus books! I can’t stop singing their praises on social media. These books have helped me through some ruts in my novella I’m currently working on, as well as my short stories. They have really helped me gain confidence in my writing.

    I love and agree with all the comments on an era/historical setting thesaurus. I would also like to see a thesaurus on mental health disorders. I know you touch upon that in the Emotional Wound Thesaurus, but I’d love to see a book or post that really fleshes mental health disorders out. Maybe even on how they not only affect adults, but children who suffer from, or knows someone who has them as well.

    Thank you so much for creating these awesome books again! 🙂

  12. Dominique says:

    A hot air balloon setting would be a cool idea. I had a writing prompt just not about that and have never actually BEEN in one myself, although I can imagine the idea of it. I checked my books because for some reason I thought it was in there but nope then checked here and nope! lol. I don’t know how often it would be used but it just came up so I thought, hey why not, I’ll add a suggestion.

  13. Vince says:

    Congratulations on your new release. I have all your thesaurauses and look forward to read this one. Thanks for your efforts.

  14. Nathan Chamberland says:

    Hi there! I love your work and find it indespensable! Thank you!

    I had an idea that would save tremendous time for writers: An Era Thesaurus. A way to get all the senses from the period. Manners of speech and popular terms could be included. Wardrobe, class styles, music, art, famous people of that era, etc. It could be separated by decade going backwards and when going far back enough, it could be categorized in full eras (Victorian, Edwardian, etc.).

    I know I’m not going to write it myself, and for someone else other than you to write it just seems wrong.

    I hope that idea is worth something to you. I’m sure it would be worth so much to so many if it came to fruition.

    I’d love to know what you think.


    Nathan Chamberland

  15. Annette Larwood says:

    I would like to see a fashion designer profile added, thanks

  16. Abigail says:

    I was looking through the Emotional Wound Thesaurus and couldn’t find quite what I wanted (which is OK, I still love the book!). I’m creating a character who, it turns out, suffers from the high expectations of her parents and those around her. (Think “The Cutting Edge”.) It’s similar to parents loving conditionally and being so beautiful no one sees anything else—having immense talent and really supportive parents who nevertheless don’t make it quite clear that they’ll love her whether or not she meets the sky-high expectations of everyone around her. I’m not sure if that’s different enough to warrant its own entry, but it’s a suggestion! 🙂

  17. Steen Comer says:

    Hey there,

    I would love to pre-order the Emotional Thesaurus, but I definitely want it in PDF rather than kindle form. Is there any way I can give you money for that now?


    • Hi Steen. I’m so glad you’re interested in preordering the second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus. Unfortunately, we just don’t have a preorder option for this format. We tried to make it available across as many versions as possible, but our PDF distributor doesn’t currently offer this capability. And if we tried to do it ourselves, well…this is why we have a distributor, lol. With my luck and all the things we’ve got going on, I would forget to send you your copy on the 21st, and that would be awful. One thing I can suggest, though, is to sign up for our Future Releases Newsletter ( This one only goes out when we’ve got a new book releasing, so you’d be informed via email when the book (and the PDF version) is officially available for purchase.

      • Steen says:

        Great! I understand the challenges here. I will sign up posthaste, and I look forward to giving you money as soon as possible!

  18. Emma Gaulton says:

    What about having all the thesaurus’ available as a PDF download to purchase? Say US$9.99 each? I know I would buy occupations, weather, physical features to name just a few.

    • Hi Emma,

      Right now what we find works the best for us is to have all the collections in one place at One Stop for Writers. This was we can expand and add to the thesauruses whenever we want because we’re not limited by a page count or the “2-page spread” format we follow in books. Some of these thesauruses will become books though–we just need time to do them as they take a lot of energy to complete and research thoroughly. 🙂

  19. I’m an aspiring author and new subscriber who’d like to share a new resource for querying authors. The Authors Seeking Agents Wish List website at provides a platform for authors to pitch any genre and agents and publishers to search and ask for more. No ads or required mailing lists. Site feedback welcome and appreciated.

  20. Eva Calderon says:

    I love everything you do! I read all of your posts and I have all of your thesauruses. I just have one suggestions – I think it would be great if you could add “tools of the trade” to the information on each occupation in the occupations thesaurus. This would help writers write metaphors and similes that a person with that occupation would use. It could also help with setting – what kind of things would that person carry in their backpack, briefcase, have on their desk, or in their home etc.

  21. Jamie says:

    Your setting guides are great, but one that I would love to get my hands on is a dystopian setting guide. Same types of settings, but what they might be like after years of decay and abandonment.

  22. Alecia R Walker Newbom says:

    Hello Angela and Becca. I am so amazed and grateful for the extremely detailed and extensive work you do to help other writers succeed. Thank you so much for dedicating your time and hard work to these many projects. I don’t know how you do it!

    Would it be possible for you to add entries in your Occupation Thesaurus for the following two occupations?

    1) Outdoor Survival Skills Instructor

    2) Search and Rescue Volunteer or full-time worker

    Even if the second one is a volunteer occupation, it could be the main occupation of someone who supports it as their true calling, either by working a second job, or possibly someone who doesn’t have to have a side job because they are able to live off of an inheritance.

    My WIP’s main character is a highly-driven, over-acheiver, trying to compensate for a tragic loss for which he blames himself. He seeks redemption or absolution through his choice of occupation. He is a part-time English teacher in an accelerated program for highschool students who take some of their classes at the local Community College. He works the rest of the time as an Outdoor Survival Instructor, and is an on-call Search and Rescue volunteer on weekends. I am getting overwhelmed by my research into the secondary occupations, and would be very grateful to have a reasonably thorough, yet succinct summary of both of the secondary occupations and all of the things that you cover with your descriptions of other occupations in your Occupation Thesaurus. Thanks so much for considering my request.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Alecia! I’m glad you’re finding our resources useful. I’ll add these two to our list of possibilities. As you can probably guess, we’ve got quite a list going already, and we won’t be able to get to everything on it. But it’s good for us to have options and to know what our readers are looking for. Have a great day!

  23. Tyrone Bryant says:

    Can you please write a whole book discussing characters’ desires, ambitions and goals?

    Your Tait Thesauri are among the many books I’ve purchased for my Kindle devices and apps. I’m currently saving up, and considering your other works, but if you write a book solely about characters’ wants, I’ll definitely buy it.

    In the meantime, thank you for the teachings you’ve been offering so far.

  24. Becca E Jackson says:

    I am just a new subscriber but down at the comment box I don’t see a way to subscribe without leaving a comment…or subscribe in general. If you could make it a bit more intuitive, that would be super nice.

    • Hi Becca, if you look at the left sidebar, you’ll see a way to subscribe to our blog updates and to our newsletter without leaving a comment (just look for our logo). I hope this helps.
      Best, Angela

  25. CC KOEN says:

    Thank you for providing excellent resources for writers. One of the writing needs I have and struggle with is locating experts for topics related to specific themes, conditions, or situations presented in my story (i.e., doctors, police, scientists, information technology, FBI, etc.). Since your website already contains wonderful resources, I was wondering if you would consider adding a section to your website that highlights guest experts to provide a Q&A for writers.

    Also, another resource that would be beneficial are forms that could be used to send to beta readers so the feedback they provide is effective and efficient. Templates that include checklists to quickly complete, open-ended questions, and other questions that focus on effective story development and improvement for effective feedback.

    Thanks again for your dedication to providing invaluable tools for writers.

  26. Jennie says:

    How about a thesaurus of weather. The Eskimos reportedly have 22 words that characterize snow. What about various words for rain, wind, temperature, etc.

  27. Matthias says:

    Hello, the thesaurus series is very helpful to me. However, english is not my native language. That’s why I have to look up a lot of words.
    I would suggest that the thesaurus series be published in other languages.
    I would prefer German, of course. 😀

    • Hi, Matthias. Thanks for reaching out with your request. Our books are in the process of being published in various languages—no German as of yet, but you can see the current list here. We’d love to branch out into other languages, so if you have a lead on any German publishers who might be a good fit, we’d be happy to talk to them. I’m so glad the series is coming in handy for you.

  28. Tony Dunbar says:

    Hi Angela-

    I am newly introduced to your work and I am an immediate fan.

    In fact, I am writing to inquiry about your speaker availability and fees.

    I look forward to response!



  29. Ana says:

    I have all your books. They are extremely helpful.
    Here’s what I’d love for you to write next:
    – Sci-Fi and Fantasy Settings
    – Occupations

  30. Anthony says:

    I’m in need of help. I’ve searched my collection of Thesaurus entries, but I’ve run into a brick wall.
    I’m looking for help in describing the after-effects of being a prisoner who was also the recipient of experimental drug use.
    Anything that would help in showing the use of syringes, days underground in a windowless cell, malnourished, and strung-out from the good/bad drug combinations.

    • While we don’t have this exact scenario, I would think you could gain some ideas from the BEING HELD CAPTIVE, BEING TORTURED and even CROSSING MORAL LINES TO SURVIVE in the Emotional Wound Thesaurus (book, or the site: Perhaps a few others as well, depending on the type of abuse.

      As for the drug use itself (preparation, effects, etc.) I would turn to google and run searches that will lead you to discussions on drug use, bad trips, different effects, etc. Quora is always good for personal stories and this sort of thing. Then combine that with the sensory deprivation effects of being captured and held. You could also search up prisoner of war stories as this will also give you the detail you might need. Good luck!

  31. Balle Marie Millner says:

    I’m in the process of writing my first book and your resources have been extremely helpful. A thesaurus of story themes would be very helpful. ie: love conquers all, greed as downfall, etc.

    • Congrats on writing your first book! Getting started can be one of the hardest parts, so good job overcoming that hurdle :). Regarding a theme thesaurus, have you checked out our Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus? Each entry is a common story theme, and the entries contain common natural and manmade symbols that could be used to express that idea. The collection at One Stop also contains a famous book or movie that contains that theme, for further reference.

  32. SP says:

    Your Writers Helping Writers series is really great!

    I would like to suggest a thesaurus on words that describe different ways of speaking. (For example: mumble; utter; chide; sneer; browbeat).

    It would also be really helpful if the words were arranged along different types spectrums for comparison (ie. emotion, intention, impact).

  33. James Q. Golden says:

    Hello Angela and Becca,

    I’ve told you before but I think I’d have to say again how awesomely helpful and helpfully Awesome your books are. As a writer I feel very lucky to live in an era which books like these exist, makes writing a whole lot easier.

    Also, in my humble opinion, your books are some of the very few thesauruses out there which can help and assist professions besides writing, extending towards psychology and other fields, bridging some obvious and yet elusive gaps. (Maybe there’s another thesaurus somewhere extending towards spirituality and philosophy or even religion somewhere out there, waiting to be written).

    But that’s a puzzle for you to pursue.

    Now, a really cool thesaurus I’d like to have in my hands and it’s cool and awesome and–in my opinion–easy and fun to create, is a thesaurus about words that do not translate in English, words like Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist, or Greng-jai (Thai): That feeling you get when you don’t want someone to do something for you because it would be a pain for them, or Cafune (Brazilian Portuguese): tenderly running your fingers through your lover’s hair.

    I think it’d be nice to have a thesaurus like that because I love exotic words and because it’s nice to put one or two such words in a story; makes it more rich and groovy, in my opinion. Also, I’m kinda tired of digging them out from the net and then writing them down on my notepad and then losing my notepad and all that. I really need this book; the world needs a Thesaurus of Exotic Words, girls! Seriously think about it.

    Keep up the great work,

    You’re awesome.

    PS. an explosion of turquoise and pink for the cover, please.

    • Oh, thanks so much for the kind words, James. We never get tired of hearing that people are happy with our books. And yes, we’re constantly surprised to hear how people are using them outside of the writing field. Your idea for a Thesaurus of Exotic Words is an interesting one. But this sounds more like a true thesaurus reference than our books tend to be. Because our books contain a lot of information on how the entries can help elevate the story or the characters on various levels, I’m not sure this idea would quite work. Maybe this is something you could pursue, since it’s something you seem to be passionate about :). Regardless, thanks very much for letting us know what content you’d like to see us create next. That information is always super helpful for us. Happy writing!

  34. Ginny Messier says:

    Good morning, Thank you for your wonderful books and website. You’ve provided an amazing resource for those of us determined to write a book. I’m very excited about the Occupational Thesaurus and wonder if I can request that one be completed for an Architect? I admit to not being the best researcher in the world, and really need some additional information on everyday work practices for a current work in progress. Thanks again!

  35. John C. Philipp says:

    Are you familiar with this article and site. Thought it might be useful for your Occupation, Skills, etc. lists.

    The opposite job of a kindergarten teacher is a physicist.

    The opposite job of a news editor is a model.

    The opposite job of a chief executive is an agricultural grader .

    The opposite job of a writer and author is a mobile home installer.

    The opposite job of an architect is a slaughterer and meat packer.

    What’s your opposite job?

    What if you could start over and take the career path most different from the one you’re on? Let us help you.

    The Labor Department keeps detailed and at times delightfully odd records on the skills and tasks required for each job. Some of them are physical: trunk strength, speed of limb movement, the ability to stay upright. Others are more knowledge-based: economics and accounting, physics, programming. Together, they capture the essence of what makes a job distinctive.

    At We’ve used these records to determine what each job’s polar opposite would be.

    Keep up the good work,


  36. Heidi Wainer says:

    I love your books. My copy of the emotional thesaurus is tattered and worn from use. My settings books not as much since they tend to bring in lots of modern sights and smells.

    Have you ever thought of doing one on historical settings for us genre writers? For example a medieval village is going to smell and sound different than a modern village. Being on the sea on a spanish galleon is going to be different than a modern day scuba trip.

    • Hi, Heidi. I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting your money’s worth out of our books :). We have discussed the idea of a speculative fiction volume, but we determined at that time that there just wasn’t a big enough demand for it. Publishing a book involves a lot of work, as you know, so we have to weigh the work and time involved when we decide what material to publish. We have had some requests for various entries, so we’ve added some speculative settings to the Setting Thesaurus at One Stop: gallows, haunted house, herbalist shop, castle armory, dungeon, and pirate ship. If you use One Stop and there are specific entries you’d like to see, we do take requests into consideration. You can submit your ideas here.

    • Marilyne Dube says:

      That will be so great!!!!

  37. Gregory Smith says:

    The website and it’s resources here are incredible! I’m loving the emotional wound thesauras and how delicately it has been put together.
    I’ve wanted to be a writer for years and only recently took it seriously. Writing character’s backstories has unexpectedly led me to look deeper at emotional wounds. Writing character’s overcoming theirs has been surprisingly cathartic and personally rewarding!

  38. Amina says:

    Can you make a romance plot thesaurus?

    • Hi, Amina. Our thesauruses tend to cross over all genres; this way, they’re applicable to people writing all different kinds of books. So we probably won’t be writing a thesaurus that caters to only one group of writers. However, if you’re looking for great romance resources, Jami Gold’s blog has a ton of them.

  39. Becky says:

    Would you two ever consider writing a book on physical characteristics such as facial features, body types, eyes, etc

    • Hi, Becky. As of right now, we don’t plan on turning that thesaurus into a physical book. As you can guess, it takes quite a bit of time and effort to do that, so we have to gauge whether or not there’s a large enough demand for it to be worth our while. In the case of the Physical Features Thesaurus, we’re not seeing enough demand to justify that. Things could always change down the road, but for now, it will have to live here at our blog and at One Stop For Writers. 🙂

      • Becky says:

        OH okay.

        Oh I had another thought. What about one on occupations and businesses? There are so many jobs out there but it can be difficult at times to describe them. At times it feels as if I’m Kelso from that 70’s show trying to figure out what his father does.

        • This is an idea that Angela and I are currently batting around. It’s possible that you could see this one in the future. Stay tuned!

          • Becky says:

            Oh I will keep my eye out! So far I’ve found all the books extremely helpful. I really hope you two decide to write it!

            And boy does this box get small.

  40. Howard says:

    In The Emotion Thesaurus, I would like to recommend the addition of this emotion: Helplessness.

    It is a very common emotion today.

  41. Amy Hunter says:

    Do you have a recommended outline template? Not all writers plot. Not everyone’s story would fit the same template, I know. BUT… if you had a universal template to use for novels or short stories, what would it look like? I’m not talking about a diagram. I simply mean something like, for example:

    Inciting Incident:
    What happens to the protagonist to put her unavoidably in the path of the antagonist?

    Internal Initial Conflict (call to action):
    What does your protagonist most want? Why can’t she have it? How will she try to get it?

    External Initial Conflict (call to action):
    What does your protagonist want to accomplish or obtain (physically)? How will she go about it?

    Thank you.
    Amy Hunter

    • Hi, Amy. We do have some scene and sorry mapping tools at One Stop For Writers. Here’s some info on each: is a tool that allows you to map out a story according to Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure. Because the concept of story structure can be overwhelming, we’ve provided lots of information to help you understand the way successful stories are structured and guide you in applying the process to your own project. On the story map page, you’ll see a diagram containing each of the story points. Just hover over a point to see an explanation of what it is and what it should accomplish. When you’re ready to make your own story map, click the New link and fill in the fields. If at any point you need guidance on a particular point, clicking the icon will explain everything in detail.

      Scene Maps give you the chance to plan out individual scenes in a story or even a series. Because writers have varying comfort levels when it comes to planning, we have two scene maps to choose from. allows you to plan your scene according to your hero’s character arc; by figuring out his inner and outer motivation, what’s at stake, and the inner and outer conflict that will plague him, you’ll have a clearer idea of what should happen in your scene. If that’s too structured for your tastes, there’s also; this one is a little more relaxed, giving you prompts to help you figure out what should happen in your scene without going into great detail.

      A subscription is necessary to test these tools out, but with a free registration, you can at least see the information on each tool and a sample of each. That should give you a better idea of whether or not you’d like to subscribe. I hope this helps!

  42. Olive Sharkey says:

    Hi, I use your emotion thesaurus and find it invaluable. If you are ever doing a reprint, it would be good if you included shyness. I couldn’t really equate it to any of the many emotions covered, and although shyness is not as common as it used to be, it’s still common enough and manifests itself in many different ways. Perhaps you don’t consider it an emotion as such, but the emotion thesaurus is the obvious place to look for it. I hope you agree.

    • Hi, Olive. Thanks so much for offering your suggestion. One of the most difficult things about writing this thesaurus was determining which possibilities were true emotions and which weren’t. At first blush, I don’t believe shyness fits the bill, since this is more a character trait than an emotion. People can “feel” a lot of things that aren’t true emotions, such as shyness, boldness, confidence, hunger, sickness, etc. Because we wanted the focus to be true emotions, we had to get really fine-tuned in narrowing down the TOC for this thesaurus. And of course, that means making choices that aren’t cut and dry and not everyone would agree on.

      For tips on shyness and how it can manifest, you might check out Timid in the Negative Trait Thesaurus or Introverted in the Positive Trait Thesaurus (if you have access to those books or the thesauruses at One Stop For Writers).

  43. Claire says:

    Could you do a thesaurus on common psychiatric disorders? It’s not unusual for people to write about them, and some depictions are notorious for being a tad inaccurate.

  44. Rob Costello says:

    I have a suggestion for another thesaurus. Please consider making a thesaurus for values. Some people place a high value on family, others on honesty, others on money, etc. I know these tie in with traits, but this gives a writer yet another window into their characters.

    Thanks in advance for the consideration.

  45. Allison Branscombe says:

    I am writing a book about a dog’s experiences in traveling. I would love to see a specialized thesaurus on animal traits and behaviors, at least for dogs. I realize there would be huge differences for other animals commonly found in books, such as horses and cats, plus large wildlife such as bears, lions and elephants. I have your emotions thesaurus, and it is somewhat helpful, but the physical manifestations of emotions will vary greatly for animals. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed! Thank you!

    (I think I am already subscribed to your newsletter, but I checked it anyway.)

  46. I am writing my first novel and I love your thesauruses, I have all of them so far and eagerly await the Emotional Wound Thesaurus. Since I am writing a historical mystery, I was wondering if you have given any thought to having a historical based thesaurus. This would be wonderful. Do you know of any specific resources to check for historical idioms or usages from different time periods? Thanks so much for your help. 🙂

    • We were going to create a third setting thesaurus volume for Speculative settings, which would include historical. But the project got so big we decided to just go with the two books, and then add new speculative entries to One Stop For Writers as we write them. I think down the road if we did historical ones they would likely appear only there as we have so many other topics to tackle as well. 😉 Thanks for writing in!

  47. Michael Wharton says:


    You may be interested in my new site audiohoop, which is a resource for writers. We support independent writers to translate their written work into high quality audio content for free. Writers can read their own work or can use the audiohoop community to find and engage actors, directors, technicians and producers to interpret work; as well as marketing experts to help promote works produced. We also provide a free audiobook hosting services, with review and feedback facilities – although if writers prefer to market the audiobooks produced through other channels, they are free to do so.

    Please come and look around the site and if you want to bring your written work to life, why not consider giving us a try? And please share our link with writers you have in your contacts.

    PS. If you have any questions, please just ask.

    Best wishes


  48. Dear Angela Ackerman,

    I have a resource request that is perhaps and unusual one for you, but it is a resource that would be valuable to so many people, including myself.

    I am a writer, but I use your emotions thesaurus for a bit of a different application. I have a neurological condition called alexithymia and your emotions thesaurus has been so useful for me in helping me to identify my own emotions.

    I would love to have a set of cards I could carry in my pocket that have the physical markers of the emotions on them, to help me figure out how I’m feeling when I don’t have your book handy. I explain in more detail in this recent blog post I wrote.

    I believe other people would also buy a set of cards from you, based on the responses I’ve gotten from readers on my blog, on my Facebook page, Twitter, etc. would also buy a set of cards from you, based on the responses I’ve gotten from the readers on my blog, on my Facebook page, my Twitter, etc. A friend who is also writer suggested that you might be amenable to developing a set of cards like that. She said that she met you at a conference and you were very friendly and approachable, so I thought I would write to you with the suggestion.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. And thank you for your excellent writers resources. Here is the blog entry where I mention your book:

    • Hi Sparrow! I empathize with you as I know about the alexithymia condition and can only imagine how hard and frustrating it is for you and others who have it. We’ve been contacted by psychologists and therapists before who have said the Emotion Thesaurus book is helpful for them to show clients how to reverse-engineer what they are feeling, because often they experience a sensation but don’t know what emotion it is. (Of course the ET was never meant to be used in this way, but clearly to write realistic fiction we need to draw from real life, and so while we aren’t psychologists, the concepts can be used for both.)

      I can definitely see how the card idea would be helpful. An app would be as well (and perhaps more practical). Regarding the former, unfortunately card-making isn’t like book making in that the only way that would work is a print-on-demand option for cards as Becca and I have our hands too full to take on anything else that would require a lot of management (ordering, shipping, etc.). An app would work better, but two problems there–first, time–time to find a developer, study to see if a market is there, a cost-benefit analysis, etc. and then we’d also need to likely get a psychologist involved, as we’re talking about the real world, not fiction, and Becca and I are not licensed psychologists and so shouldn’t be creating things to be applied to people without some vetting first.

      Sorry, not meaning to throw a wall of text your way, just trying to explain why creating something like this is actually a bit more involved than it appears. It’s not something we have time to look into or pursue unfortunately, but perhaps if someone in the industry saw the benefit some sort of arrangement could be made for using our IP. We’ve been approached before by developers wishing to use our IP for medical apps (but it didn’t work out), so it is possible it may happen again.

      In any case, I am so glad the ET is helpful to you. For now I might suggest that if you got the kindle app and the ebook version, you could access it on your phone as needed?

      And yes, I remember P.D. Workman! We were on a panel together and wow, she is amazingly productive–a master of managing her time. I felt like such a slacker after hearing her daily routine. 🙂

      Thanks so much for writing in, and letting us know about how the book helps. <3

      • Sparrow says:

        Thank you for your fast and thorough reply. It is very informative and helpful and I appreciate it very much.

        And yes, not only is P.D. Workman a gifted writer, she has got to be the most prolific author I know this side of Asimov!

  49. kat says:

    Hi- I just purchased 4 of your books to help improve the book that I’m working on and I’m very excited to use them. However at the risk of seeming overly PC I was disappointed that when I went to the ‘nightclub’ description in Urban Settings that “cougars” were listed. I find that term extremely sexist and demeaning. Where is the negative term for men who look for younger women? I worked at nightclubs for 8 years in NYC and can tell you that I seriously never -yes never- saw that -and I believe it’s misguided stereotypes that keep “older” women from going out dancing like their male counterparts so please don’t encourage it.

    • Fair comment. I am sorry you found the term offensive. It happens to be something I would see often, and the term is one widely used where I am from in Canada, which is why it was included. Not making an excuse, simply explaining how it came to be. Happy writing, and thanks for the feedback. 😉

    • Richard Bowers says:

      Thanks for speaking out on the subject. Gigalo (spelling?) might be an equivalent term for what your thinking.

  50. Jeffrey Strain says:

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

  51. 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 :).

  52. 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.

  53. 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

  54. 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.

  55. 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. 🙂

  56. 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.



  57. 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.

  58. 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!

  59. 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.

  60. 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 :).

  61. 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. 🙂

  62. 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!


  63. 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.


  64. 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.

  65. Charmaine says:

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

  66. 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! 🙂


  67. 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! 🙂

  68. 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.

  69. 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.


  70. 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. 🙂

  71. 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.


  72. 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!

  73. 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.

  74. 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.



  75. 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!

  76. 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. 🙂

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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!

  80. Jordan says:

    Hi Angela

    Great resource you have here, we blogged about it at

    Now Novel

  81. Hi 🙂

    Liked your article in Writers Digest…

    We older fogies like me need a 4th grader to write a readable Dummies book on how to use social media to promote inde books…

    Like most retired people born WAY BC 🙂 –older than dirt– I am clueless about that… my foray into facebook was dreadful… after a while by stuff got so swamped by posts from other people I could NOT EVEN FIND my stuff…

    On the brighter side, I did a web site for my novellas and writings… My pastor even hosts an internet radio show so I have been a little successful there…

    If you have a box of tissues handy, you might read my novella about a teenage boy’s first century, first person account about meeting an itinerant rabbi named Jesus 🙂 “”The Gospel letter to Athens” Google it or at :

    www dot lewishb dot biz

    Dont start it late at night or you may be up till the wee hours 🙂 My lady friends have gone through half a box of tissues reading it 🙂

    My Best,

    Lewis Brackett in San Diego

  82. Sheila says:

    Hi. First off, I just wanted to say that the Emotional Thesaurus is by far the most useful book on writing out there. I was wondering if you make additions to the list of emotions in later versions of your book. I was flipping through the version I have and I couldn’t find anything to describe concern or earnestness.


  83. Hi Angela and Becca. I have a suggestion for the next update of your emotion thesaurus. Right now you have the logical escalation from one emotion to the next, which I must say is simply super awesome. However, I sometimes find myself wanting to de-escalate emotion but, alas, you don’t have that in your books and I have to sift through the entries to figure out what I can use. Would it be too much to ask for that to be added?

    Thanks again for all that you’re doing!!

  84. Beth says:

    Do you have anything for writing about animals? If not, I think that would be a useful thing to make. 🙂 Just a suggestion. From what I’ve seen of the site, it’s really awesome and helpful! Thank you!

  85. Carly says:

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE PDF versions of the other thesauruses on here. I’d pay for them! I think they are so useful and when I don’t have internet its a real bummer. Thank you for this wonderful and useful website! Its improved my writing so much and I truly appreciate all of the tools! 🙂

    • Hi, Carly! I’m glad you’re getting so much use out of our site. We don’t have plans to create more PDFs at this time, but if/when we do choose to digitize any more material, we’ll let you know!

  86. April says:

    Hi Angela and Becca,

    I have all three of your thesauruses and was wondering if you guys planned on making Emotion Amplifiers available in print?

    Thank you for all the great writing tips!

    • Hi April,

      A this time we aren’t planning a print version, simply because it is very short. But if we decide to expand the content, or create a workbook for the ET, likely we would include it and offer it in print.

  87. Kami says:

    First, I love this Writers Helping Writers blog and visit it several times each week and recommend it to other writers. Thank you for creating it.

    Second, I wasn’t sure if my message should go here, or if I should treat it as a guest post, or just an email, or what. If it is in the wrong place, please feel free to delete it after reading.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Rachel Ann Nunes plagiarism case going on, but if you haven’t, a best-selling Christian author had her book plagiarized with added explicit sex scenes. The plagiarist then cyber-bullied her. On top of that, it was found that the plagiarist also plagiarized from a disabled war veteran, and stole names from and used the old email addresses of her third grade students for her online aliases (which were used to not only bully, but give herself great reviews and the Christian author poor ones). The plagiarist insists that she’s innocent. Other authors have banded together to try to help the author, Rachel Ann Nunes, by donating money, book sales, and even creating an anti-plagiarism organization, but Rachel has already spent $20,000 trying to bring the plagiarist to justice. I understand if you aren’t interested and that you usually focus on writing advice, but if you could share the situation on your site or social outlets (you can even just use the press release below), it would help Rachel (and frankly all writers) with the fight against plagiarism.

    Here is a recent press release: Plagiarism Case Exposes Imminent Threat to Self-Publishing E-Book Authors

    And the full story is here:

    Thanks, and I apologize if this was inconvenient to you.


    • Hi, Kami. I haven’t heard about this case, but I’ll definitely look into it. With the spread of technology, plagiarism seems to be growing rather than lessening, which is such a shame. Thanks for letting us know about this.

  88. John says:

    First of all AMAZING IDEA!!!! Second, I am writing a fantasy novel in which needs a lot of action relayed to the reader. I have done Martial Arts for two decades and have done much studying. You name it, from physical to mental, I have read an ample amount of literature pertaining to. My suggestion is I have much to offer in the ways of descriptive fight scenes. I went to your tabs and doesn’t seem to be included, at this amazing site of yours. I offer my services if you are at all interested or hope to see it up soon. I will be referring this site to many people. I have needed this and wish I would have thought of it. Looking for one that exist, that is. Anyway, thanks for reading this and please take it into consideration. Star Wars to Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings and Divergent being successful examples. A lot of hand to hand combat as well as, use of weapons. SEE YA AROUND!!!

    • HI John,

      If you’d like to write a post on a type of fight scenes, just fill out the form on the guest post page. We’d love to let readers have access to your knowledge if you can hone in on some techniques to write action scenes better. Thanks for the kind words, too! 🙂


  89. Seekerville says:

    Please consider adding Seekerville to your writer resources. We have hosted Angela twice with great participation and we are a 2013 and 2014 Writer’s Digest Best 101 Websites for Writers awardee.

  90. I’ve been talking about this for years. . . how writers need these kinds of descriptions in their writing. So glad to find you! Thanks for your 11/29/12 post on Nina Amir’s blog.

    • HI Marlene,

      So gad you found your way here–I hope you find the information useful. Description is such an important topic, isn’t it? It completely transforms the reader’s experience! Hope the writing is going great. 🙂

  91. Carly says:

    I wish y’all would make books for your other online thesaurus’!!! Ie: the setting, descriptions etc!!! I love them. I know it free easy access here but I think it would be fantastic to add more settings and have it all on my computer like your PDF version of the emotional one!! I just love it! 🙂

    • Hi, Carly! Actually, Angela and I are in the process of drafting the book version of The Settings Thesaurus :). We don’t have a firm release date yet—most likely it will be sometime in the spring. But we’ll keep you updated here at the blog. And if you sign up for our newsletter (see the link below), the updates will go directly to your inbox :). Thanks so much for the input.

  92. Dan says:

    Bought two of your books this week. They were exactly what I was looking for. Now going through past posts on the website.

    I was wondering if you had a resource to assist in describing settings , ie. A Thunderstorm, calm seas, a forest, a noisy town, a old tavern, etc..


    • Dan, we have several thesaurus collections here on the blog that might help you. Take a look at the Thesaurus Collections page in the top header. You will find a Weather Thesaurus and a Setting Thesaurus that I hope you’ll find particularly helpful–everything is listed alphabetically within those collections, and both are filled with sensory detail to weave stronger realism into your fiction. Let us know how it goes, and welcome to the site! Hope you enjoy the books and they help you on many projects to come.

      • Dan says:

        Angela, thank you so much. I hadn’t made it that far into the website, but I spent the last thirty minutes looking over those pages. Are there any plans to turn those into ebooks?

        Thanks again.

  93. Hannah says:

    I am an aspiring writer from Sweden. Your website is my favorite place for finding inspiration. It´s so helpful! I have one of your books Emotional Thesaurus. I love this website!
    I have a few suggestions for new Thesaurus Collections.

    • Thanks for these Hannah, and for taking the time to make these topic suggestions. I know Becca will cover singing for sure, because she is an AMAZING singer. For real…I think she could have chosen that for a career had she wanted to! Have a wonderful week, and keep pounding out those words!

  94. Dan Raymond Aas says:

    Hi. Norway here. Love your site. I find it very useful 🙂

    I would love to see an Actions/Activity thesaurus.

    For example:
    Showering – typical actions while showering, sensation/reaction when cold water hits your skin, the smell of shampoo, sting/soap in the eye etc

    Driving – clutching, checking rearview mirror, shutting off high-beams when there’s an approaching car

    Getting ready for bed
    Making sushi

  95. Louisa says:

    Your books and website are absolutely brilliant! But it would be the bee’s knees if there was a little more added about Shyness.

  96. Johan says:


    I found your website after reading your book “The emotion thesaurus”, which became a real asset for my writing. If you write the same kind of “thesaurus” for the senses, especially smell and touch, I’ll be your first buyer!
    Thanks for your work,

  97. RaeBeth Buda says:

    Here is a list of places that could be added to your list:

    A business office setting

    I’m sure I’ll come up with more as I write, so I’ll make more suggestions in the future.

  98. Robert Burroughs says:

    I love your blog, I have been getting some very worthy tips.

  99. Michelle Pickett says:

    You know I love your books. They never-NEVER-leave my desk. And when I write I always have my browser open to this website. You are my go to place for inspiration.

    So here’s my suggestion. I’m not sure how it can be done; I think there’s a way and there’d be an interest. I’d like to see some info on injuries. Cuts, broken bones, appendicitis, even the imagined injuries felt when something hurts our characters emotionally. Things like that. I’m not suggesting you get a medical degree and write a comprehensive study. 🙂 I think I’m looking more for the emotional description of an injury…if that makes any sense at all.

    At any rate, your books are awesome! I love them.
    Michelle Pickett, author
    Bestselling PODs Series
    Milayna Trilogy

  100. Loz James says:

    Hi Angela

    Love your work here at Writers Helping Writers 🙂

    Just a quick heads up, your audience may be interested in my latest podcast with Jeff Goins on the art of writing:

    Many thanks and keep doing what you do 🙂

    Best wishes

    Loz James

  101. KD WIlliams says:

    Hello, I am K.D. Williams, author of Rise of Oliria and new website owner of My website is similar to Emotional thesaurus. It helps writers describe places, locations and actions. Today, I’m requesting a link exchange with you. Together, we can help writers become successful.

  102. Thank you for your upbeat and interesting posts. I’ve listed “writers helping writers” in my latest ebook currently selling on Amazon: Write, Baby, Write. Many writing tips have been gleaned from your site. Thanks again, Shelly

    • Shelly, thank you so much! I’m thrilled to hear that, especially because our migration from the Bookshelf Muse blog is only a few months old, and we want to make sure all our users know where we are now. Appreciate you sharing the word, and so glad our content is helpful to you as you write. Wishing you much success–congrats on your new book!

  103. Megan says:

    Is there any possible way that you could do a setting description of a circus? I’m tried to look up some on Google, but I couldn’t really find any good ones. That would be awesome if you could. Your site is just awesome by the way. It helped me a lot in certain areas in my own story.

    • Hi, Megan! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Can’t believe we missed that one. We’ll add “circus” to the list in case we decide to publish this thesaurus one day :).

  104. John says:

    How about an action thesaurus? One that describes all the different ways in which something can happen?

    • I vote for action thesaurus as well! Especially useful for non-native English speakers.

    • Angela says:

      Hi John, can you give me an example?

      • Michelle Frazier says:


        I would LOVE to check out your site, it appears to be interesting and thorough, just wat I need! However . . .

        It’s not formatted for us mobile viewers. I don’t even own a desktop pc anymore, I do EVERYTHING on my smartphone. I don’t
        know if u have ever tried to browse WHW on a phone, but u should – it’s just not comfortable, and it’s a big PITA!

        Just a suggestion, let me I’ll wen u fix it and I will be back.


        • Hi Michelle,

          So sorry you’re having issues with the mobile site version. Can I ask what type pf browser you are using? I use Safari on my iphone, and it shows up well (or did–but I will check it again unless something changed). Let me know and I’ll do what I can to fix it.

          Thanks for letting us know!


  105. Teresa Coffey says:

    I’ve spent the afternoon on your blog. It is a wealth of information. I also realized that I have a couple of your Thesaurus books. Love the books and the site but there’s one blog post you did on improving your blog that is inaccessible. Evidently it was a guest post on another blogger’s site and they now have their blog set to private. The post was: Building a Following: 5 Tips that WORK. Is there any way for this post to be re-posted on Writers Helping Writers?

    Thank you!

  106. Mikayla says:

    Hello Bookshelf Muse, or should I say Writers Helping Writers!
    I was thinking that it would be great if you added a dare button like on the young writers NaNoWriMo website. I just love getting dares for my story like “take your characters out for dinner” or “make your character hear a song you just heard on the radio.” That would be AMAZING if you could have a dare button. That is my suggestion. Thanks for the great website!

  107. Linda Foust says:

    I wondered if you ever had writers help readers? I’m having problems with the rafflecopter on FB. It says it’s loading but gets nowhere and I can’t sign in or enter. Can anyone help me? Thank you.

    • I would try refreshing, but to be honest I don’t use Rafflecopter because I just find that I’d rather not make people jump through hoops to win something, and just hope they’ll social share anyway if I ask.

      If you are still struggling with Rafflecopter issues, I would consider joining WriterSupport4u group on Facebook. It is a really great community for all things writing and is very supportive and helpful. Someone there will know. 🙂

  108. Montgomery Daschle says:

    To say Writers helping Writers is the Alpha and Omega of the book creation, building empire, is an understatement, but what more could I say. This is the highest plateau one can ever receive. Superlative authors, Angela and Becca.

    I appreciate the life you have given to the writing world. Magnanimous!

  109. I’m not sure if this is where I’m supposed to leave a comment, but I love your previous site and used it all the time. I’m looking forward to seeing what new and exciting and educational you will have at this site.

    Thank You for your site.


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