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! Conflict Thesaurus: Every scene needs conflict. Sometimes that comes in the form of a major obstacle, and sometimes it’s something minor that amps up a character’s stress. Check out this collection of tension-building options to up the ante in a flat scene.

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 (Samples): 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.).

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 published not once, but twice, with the 2019 Second Edition of The Emotion Thesaurus containing a total of 130 emotions.

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 $1.99 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, just add your email here. We’ll fire off a quick notification as soon as it hits the shelves.  🙂




















  1. Krishnendu Bhattacharyya says:

    Is there any new thesaurus on its way? I would definitely like to see the occupation, conflict, and motivation – these three thesauri on my kindle asap. Please don’t make us wait for long. Thanks for your invaluable contribution to the development of writing skills that I am trying to study and practice for a long time. Regards.

  2. I purchased the Emotion Thesaurus in ebook form and it doesn’t have an Appendix like my paperback copy of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, was it supposed to have one or not? Thanks.

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  5. Emma Gaulton says:

    What I would like is to have the option to purchase all the thesaurus’ in PDF version, so I can add it to my kindle and have it next to wherever I am. So the Occupations/Weather etc, etc would be available to download for say $9.99 US.

    I’m not bothered about having a subscription to an online website I would far prefer the option of purchasing the PDFs. These are such great books I want them all on my shelf somehow.

    • 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. 🙂

      • Guest says:

        I believe that was not what Emma was asking about. She wanted to buy all of the books as PDFs, rather than subscribing to your website. So do I.

        I’m sure you’re making plenty of money selling temporary access for $90 a year … but there’s a market besides that of professional writers who can afford that as a business expense. For example, you’re getting $0 from me instead of, say, $20, because I too would buy a PDF compilation (if you didn’t include Digital Restrictions Management — I will not buy DRM-locked books out of principle) but I’m not going to pay anything for temporary access to a site that I might need to use two or three times a year, but have to continue paying for when I’m not using it.

        • We understand what you’re saying, and why you would rather purchase all the WHW thesauruses in PDF form rather than join a subscription service to access them. The problem is that we don’t have PDFs for all of our thesauruses. It takes quite a chunk of time to clean up a thesaurus, format it, add the necessary instructive front matter so writers will know how to best use the information, and turn it into a digital book (even in PDF form). As such, we’ve had to make hard choices about where our time should go, and we’ve decided to only create PDFs for collections that are being made into books.

          This is why Angela suggested One Stop for Writers——because all of our thesauruses can be found there in their entirety. We understand that the subscription model isn’t for everyone, but because we can’t provide what Emma was asking for, we suggested the only other option we currently have. We do appreciate you letting us know what products/formats would be most helpful for you, since this guides our decision making.

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  7. Krishnendu Bhattacharyya says:

    It feels kind of funny to ask this, but can we please have a thesaurus of obstacles, conflicts, problems, stakes or something like that?

    Thanks & regards,

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  10. Jimmy Lars says:

    Hi, I’ve taken a brief skim-through of the thesauruses you offer here, but I’m unsure if you have what I’m looking for.

    I’m looking for a thesaurus (or another resource) that can give me a list of words to use as types of emotionally-tinged synonym for “said”.

    For example “XXX!” she spat, or “X-XXX…” she stammered, or “A, B, C, D…” she rattled off.

    Any help would be appreciated.

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  12. Krishnendu says:

    Hi, I must admit that all these fruits of your invaluable metculus efforts enriched me to give my ability to express myself a truely desirable orientation, which is why I am requesting for something more; can you please bless us with a thesaurus of plot drivers? Regards….

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  15. GUHAN S says:

    Hello Interested in hearing and reading ur books online.

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  17. Stephanie Heijkoop says:

    What are you working on next? 🙂

  18. Victoria Nicole says:

    I am a professional international psychologist with two minors; business management and english (lit) I need a thesaurus or online, I do not care, that I can get to easily, or have it attached already to my word: to purpose different wording possibilities. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I would be grateful and appreciative

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  21. Hugh Hoinea says:

    I would like to order one copy of, Emotional Thesaurus.

    • Hi, Hugh. I’m so glad you’re interested in getting a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus. We don’t sell them directly but use distributors to do that for us. This page contains links to the various places it can be bought, including Indiebound, which will show you any independent bookstores near you that carry our book. Please let us know if you have any trouble. Have a great week!

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  23. M. Howard says:

    There’s so much I need to learn about writing well. Mostly I concentrate on good plots. Thanks for what you do.

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  26. 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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  30. 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.

  31. As always, very helpful!!

  32. 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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  37. 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!

  38. 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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  43. 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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  45. 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.

  46. Russell says:

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

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  48. 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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  52. 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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  55. I teach a nonfiction picture book class and at the beginning of each class, your books are must haves for every aspiring writer. Have you considered doing your other thesauruses (settings, colors, etc) in an ebook format? Even for a nominal fee? It would be so worth it to me and I am sure to many others as well.

    • Hi, Kristen! Thanks so much for promoting our books through your nonfiction picture book class. People like you are doing the heavy lifting for us when it comes to marketing our books, and Angela and I really appreciate it! We talk quite a bit about which thesauri to turn into books. Some have been better received than others and we feel they would sell well as books. Others, not so much. We’ve discussed the ebook-only option, and it’s something that makes sense for some of our smaller collections. Some of them, honestly, we may never publish in book form. But as new products become available, we’ll announce them here, so stay tuned :). Thanks again for your support and feedback.

  56. Júlia M. says:

    Hey guys, I recently purchased all your thesaurus collection, and I would like to know witch one should I start with?

    • Hi, Júlia. Thanks so much for buying the books! As for which one to read first, it kind of depends on what you’re most interested in learning. The Emotion Thesaurus contains a lot of in-depth information about the importance of showing instead of telling; while it focuses mostly on how to show character emotion, the techniques shared can be applied to any of the descriptive writing in your story. If you feel like that’s an area you could hone in your writing, I would start there. If you’re focus is on character building and characterization, I’d suggest starting with The Negative Trait Thesaurus; it goes into great detail about how flaws are formed, the importance of knowing your character’s backstory, and how to go about creating unique and realistic characters.

      The good news is that the books aren’t sequential, so you can honestly start with any of the three and come away with new techniques and information to help with your writing. Best of luck!

  57. This is so awesome! I’ve been building a collection like this for ages, but mine is pitiful. You are an answer to prayer. Thank you.

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  59. Chellie says:

    Thank you, I am looking forward to them and I will purchase them. The emotion thesaurus has gotten me out of many stressful binds and the personality traits, both have served me well.

  60. Chellie says:

    First off, I love the three books, the Emotion, Negative and Positive traits Thesaurus books; I first purchased the Emotion thesaurus and it helped me so much I purchased the other two. They are very helpful resources; if you were to put the other thesaurus’ in eBook form I would purchase them without hesitation. Thank you so much for the help.

    • Chellie, thanks so much for taking the time to write us. We are so pleased you are finding our books helpful! Converting our blog content and then expanding it to become an ebook and print book takes a lot of time, and so it is rewarding to hear from people that the time is well spent and they are getting good use from our collections. We hope to have two more books ready in April (on setting)!

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  62. Meg says:

    I got here by someone saying this was like a Paradise for an author.
    And she was so right!

  63. Thiago says:

    Thank you very much for useful resources! I have a doubt, though – why are the titles strickenthrough?

    Also, a suggestion: maybe you could make a verb substitute thesaurus, for replacing weak verbs for powerful ones (exploded instead of ran, for instance).

    Thanks a lot for the awesome content!

    • Hi, Thiago. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. We experienced some kind of technical snafu this weekend that I believe triggered the strike-throughs. It should be fixed now. As for your suggestion, we don’t have a weak verb thesaurus in the pipeline, but we do have an Active Verbs List on our Tools page. I believe this might be what you’re looking for :).

      • Thiago says:

        Hahaha that’s exactly what I had in mind. Thanks for pointing it out to me! I’m gonna go crazy with this in the rewriting! 🙂

        All the best for you, and thanks again.

  64. manicmuse says:

    Thank you so much for your presentation to National Assn. of Memoir Writers and for sharing this site with us.

  65. Teann says:

    Best site ever. I have scoured the internet looking for something just like this. Silly thing is, I have had The Emotion Thesaurus for months, but was so wrapped up on what was in it, I didn’t take the time to look at the book itself and find the website, until showing my Aunt your amazingly helpful book. Thanks so much.

    What about smell descriptors? That would be great.

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  67. Ysadora Lee says:

    This is paradise for young writers like me. It makes me giggle as I read through your posts. Thank you so much for sharing these to us.

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  75. Summer Splash says:

    Hello! I have just started using this site and I must say that it just blew me away! I have been having some trouble writing some certain scenes lately as I didn’t know how to describe some objects, and this helped me a lot as a beginner. This is awesome!

  76. Kat Stoldt says:

    I have only just begun to explore the wonderful tools available on this site, so please forgive me if I recommend something that you already have. I think it would be useful to have an Injury Thesaurus, or something similar, where one could find the causes of an injury and the immediate and subsequent effects. What I’ve seen of your collection so far is full of helpful writing tips; thanks for sharing your expertise 🙂

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  78. Ella Rite says:

    I love this blog. Your title intrigued me, but your resources hooked me. I scanned through your thesaurus and was blown away by the descriptions, the advice and the warnings. I felt like you catered this site for people like me. Sometimes, I like to ‘get the info’ without slogging through a maze of metaphors. I am now, and will continue to be, a faithful follower. Great job!!! 🙂

  79. I Love these and I seriously think they would make great android apps for writers on the go. I have the emotion thesaurus in hard copy and love it. Thank you for these. I have shared your books with my writing group who’ve flown to their computers to buy them too. Fabulous tools. ~Christina

    • Thanks for the kind words, Christina. Angela and I have talked a little bit about apps to go along with our books. There’s nothing in the works right now, but down the road, we very likely could come up with something. And thanks for spreading the word with your writing friends 🙂

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  82. Annette Taylor says:

    I love all your theasauri. It would be wonderful if all were put in PDF so I could download them all. Hope you never run out of ideas.

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