The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Location: Colorado, United States

Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tools for Description

Music I'm listening to: Propaganda - P-Machinery (via Generation 80s on

I have a friend, the aforementioned author Shelby Reed, whose lush first-draft prose makes my fourth-draft stuff seem like it was written by a slightly literate beagle. I gnash my pearly teeth at her abilities. (However, as her critique partner, I'm delighted to read her work without cracking open a fresh red pen).

I'm no slouch with words, mind you. School spelling champ in fifth grade, National Merit Scholar, a Ph.D. from one of the finest universities in the country, yada yada. But finding just the right word doesn't come as easily to me as to Ms. Perfect Prose. >:-p

This is why I use the right tools.

A few favorites:, which has a near-permanent tab in my browser.

If need a great 3-D, on-the shelf thesaurus, the best one is Rodale's The Synonym Finder. Yes, I say that categorically. The best. It's wonderfully thick, so do yourself a favor and splurge for it in hardback rather than the shorter-lifespan paperback.

The Describer's Dictionary by David Grambs. While it's far from perfect (sorry, David), the sections on color terms and modifiers, gait, and facial expressions make it handy.

Speaking of colors, check out the color-sorted lists in "Writing with Color" by another friend and C.P., Gina Ardito. Thanks, GinaBabe!


Blogger Gina Ardito said...

You are most definitely welcome, Catey-kins! Thank you!

June 05, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger ShelbyReed said...

I love it when you victimize me so brutally. LOL You nut.


June 05, 2006 7:24 PM  
Blogger daftaz said...

Katey, have you checked out Visual Thesaurus? For those of us who don't think linearly, it's a hot tool. Fun to watch, too!


June 06, 2006 4:56 AM  

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