Why keeping a cheat sheet of common words will help your writing.
When I posted a blog on: The Writing Process: Part 7 – Editing for Grammar & Style, I mentioned using a thesaurus. I also posted a section about minimizing your characters’ common gestures, where I said,
An advance reader of mine counted the instances where my character, Davian, crossed his arms. The tally: once every three pages in a 400 page manuscript. Your characters may not cross their arms as much as Davian, but they probably smile, frown, and laugh once every page. Change it up.
I discovered a few years ago that I was continuously looking up the same words in my thesaurus, and most of them dealt with my characters’ gestures, movements, and facial expressions. I created a list of the words I needed synonymns for the most and keep it near when I’m editing. I figured I would share it here. If you know of more words to add, please feel free to add them in the comments section. Also, you will notice that I have a Products of Fire section. My writing includes warfare and explosions so I found that necessary. You might not need that section, but feel free to create sections that fit your stories.
Frown: Glower, Glare, Scowl, Grimace, Mope, Sulk
Glare: Glower, Scowl, Frown
Smile: Grin, Beam, Simper (smug), Smirk, Look amused, Look delighted
Sigh: Moan, Groan, Exhale, Breathe, Pant, Whisper, Huff
Eyed: Look at, Gaze at, Stare at, Contemplate, Study, Survey, View, Inspect, Scrutinize, Scan, Glance at, Regard, Behold, Eyeball, Ogle, Lear, Make eyes at, Give the eye to
Walk: Stroll, Saunter, Amble, Plod, Trudge, Hike, Tramp, Trek, March, Stride, Step out, Pace, Hike, Toddle
Run: Rush, Hasten, Hurry, Dash, Sprint, Blot, Dart, Gallop, Scurry, Scamper, Scramble, Scoot, Jog, Lope, Scuttle
Yell: Shout, Cry out, Howl, Scream, Shriek, Screech, Squeal, Roar, Bawl, Whoop, Holler, Bellow
Products of fire: Ash, Brand, Charcoal, Cinder, Cinders, Fumes, Smoke, Soot, Spark, Stub
People: Folks, Humans, Commoners, Individuals, Societies, Crowd, Folk, Humanity, Inhabitants, Masses, Mortals, Persons, Plebeians, Rabble, Tribe, Public, Men and women, Adults
If you have any other words to add, please be sure to let everyone know in the comments!
Fantasy novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. Weston speaks to children, teens, and adults about writing and the process of getting published. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit www.mbweston.com. Find out more about The Elysian Chronicles at www.elysianchronicles.com.