The only just literary critic is Christ, who admires more than does any man, the gifts He Himself has bestowed. – JRR Tolkien

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The Describer’s Dictionary

A Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations Expanded Second Edition by David Grambs and Ellen S. Levine

This unique, one of a kind reference book is a valuable resource tool for every wordsmith seeking to find just the right word for their novel, blog, essay, or letter to mom.

One of the most interesting things about the book is it’s partly a sort of reverse dictionary, describing first, exactly what it is you’re looking for, then giving you the correct term(s) for it. 

 A few examples:

  • An alpine forest having stunted trees – elfinwood
  • a high moor or barren field – fell
  • open upland of rolling hills on open country – wold
  • having skin that is markedly pale – pallid, wan, etiolated
The Describer's Dictionary - review for writers.

If you’re like me, and just beginning your writing career, and not up to speed on a variety of subjects, this book opens up entire new worlds of useful information on things like facial expressions, buildings, terrain and landscapes, temperament, and fashion and hair styles.

With sections on the property of things, clouds, general animal traits, structures and spaces, earth and sky, animals and people—the book covers almost any topic you could possibly need. No doubt about it, the Describer’s Dictionary is a perfect compliment to your thesaurus and dictionary. 

Part dictionary, part anthology, the book puts thousands of words instantly at your fingertips. In addition to providing the individual words you’re looking for, the book also demonstrates ample ways to string those words together.

The authors have compiled over 800 quotations from authors of both fiction and non-fiction to illustrate examples of whatever subject you seek to describe in your writing. 

For example:

  1. parts or features of buildings                            
  2. light and it’s properties
  3. architectural styles                                              
  4. body types
  5. exterior structures and outdoor spaces                  
  6. sensory impressions
  7. common color modifiers                                       
  8. medical terms and symptoms
  9. light and it’s properties                                       
  10. parts of the body

The Describer’s Dictionary would be a great addition to your library of writing tools, and I highly recommend it, whether you’re serious about your writing or simply wish to brush up on your vocabulary.

The authors have obviously put a great deal of time, thought, and effort into creating this indispensable tool for writers, and thereby earning 5 stars in my book!

Spencer Lane Adams - Author - Crime Thriller Novel Book