Writing is about getting words on paper. There’s little scarier to a writer than a blank page. You’d think, then, that jotting down words – even if they aren’t the best choice – would be easy. If you’ve ever stared at a blank page you know the truth behind that statement.
Years ago I discovered the Synonym Finder, a variation on the thesaurus that I found much more user friendly than the traditional tome of synonyms and antonyms. Recently I found my new best resource for adding texture to my scenes with the Thesaurus of the Senses.
Words are divided by – you guessed it – the five senses. From there, there are additional breakdowns based on categories. In SEE you find facial expressions or colors. TOUCH is divvied up into textures and pressure along with visceral responses. My favorite is probably the onomatopoeia category in HEAR.
Even if I don’t immediately know the right word I have a direction that I want to go with the choice. This helps me target more specific words rather than having to pull a random.
Using The Emotion Thesaurus is very similar and another good resource if you’re stuck. I’m a fan of the entire series that came from that book – positive trait, negative trait, urban setting, rural setting and emotional wound. While these don’t give you a specific word exclusively, they will help you build on an idea.
It’s easy to get caught up in buying tons of resource books. I have an entire library of odds and ends bought because I intended to write a book on some odd topic. But I find myself using all of these with each new book I start. They pull the words out of me when I can’t find them on my own.