Finding alternatives to words like said, replied, answered and all the usual cliches has become my current life’s work… as has writing effective place and character descriptions. I have trolled the Internet for inspiration and while these goodies are in my head, I will share them with you.
Alternatives to said:
- SPW books has a great list in a table form and also
links to other useful materials in the side navigation bar.
Raid the list at: http://www.spwickstrom.com/said/
- If you want to go big, or go home, here are 550
more alternatives from A.J. Barnett:
I seem to be writing in waves, adding in layers over the plot and characterisation. Right now I am into description, including body language. Some of the most helpful resources found are listed below. There are also dozens on my Pinterest board for all genres of writers, so I’ll place that link here as well.
Physical characteristic descriptions:
- Obsidian Bookshelf has many pages which list eye colours, body types, hair colours, character names, cliches to avoid and much more. I’ll include full link addresses in case you wish to print this page. http://www.obsidianbookshelf.com/html/articles_and_writing_how-tos.html
- Writers in the Storm : http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/body-language-an-artistic-writing-tool/ and Character Eye Descriptions, A Window to the Soul http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/eyes-windows-into-a-characters-soul/
- My Pinterest board with a mammoth load of useful links: http://www.pinterest.com/cateartios/inspiration-for-all-writers/
- Angela Ackerman’s blog also has brilliant information on skills and talents and why your character needs them. http://writershelpingwriters.net/author/angela/ Her books, The Emotional Thesaurus, The Positive Traits Thesaurus and the Negative Traits Thesaurus are a goldmine for authors. I have never heard a negative word about them. Angela’s work is well written and researched. (No, she hasn’t asked me to say a word, I’m just a fan.)
Please add your suggestions in the comments. I highly recommend chasing resources like this down, they have blossomed out my word count! After too many years writing non-fiction, I have learnt to write too tight. This new venture is doing me good.
All clipart used here is from Openclipart.com