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The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms & Literary Quotations (Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations) Paperback – August 17, 1995
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“Offer[s] hours of fun and useful words.... Valuable to writers, readers, and those stuck for a word or phrase to spice up a letter or diary entry.” (Digby Diehl)
About the Author
David Grambs has worked as a lexicographer, editor, travel reporter, and translator. He is the author of five other books pertaining to the English language, including The Endangered English Dictionary, and is coauthor of So You Think You Can Spell? with Ellen S. Levine.
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Top Customer Reviews
Firstly, this book never claimed to be a thesaurus. I say this to counter another review that tried comparing the two. Matter-o-fact, I own a Roget's Thesaurus and there is a stark difference. This book is a very good utility for fiction writer's in the sense that it distills much of what the average writer will encounter on his writing journey in terms of: Character descriptions, Location descriptions (houses, buildings etc) et al. Equally important, it has small sections where it shows how some of these words can be used -- and were used by known authors.
There are 1 or 2 commentaries that had a disparaging -- "oh, there's nothing here that you don't already know, unless you're learning English for the 1st time", tone. But in truth, no matter how eclectic your vocabulary might be, there are often times when words/phrases/expressions seem to elude you. Words that are just beyond that foggy mist, in need of a hint to give you that "aha, now I've got it" moment. This book can help get that memory juice going, and maybe even give you a better alternative.
For those with a thesaurus, I can only say that this will help strengthen the quality of that thesaurus. So, I do recommend this book.
We want them to see, taste, feel, smell it. To live it as our characters do and how we as writers image it in our minds.
We all know that is not an easy task and for many of us it is a very hard one.
We are told that we need to show not tell...but how?
That is where reference books like this helps.
While it does not write the scene for you. Nor does its descriptions always fit what your writing about-
What it does- it extends your memory..it extends the process of picturing that scene in your mind.
It is a series of literary examples and a kind of thesaurus to assist the writer- in writing that scene.
so why give it this great rating? I purchased this as a tool to assist me in showing the reader, to help them feel the story I am trying to portray. I also purchased the Emotion thesaurus.
It is a writers job to craft the story-Building a reference library to assist in that endeavor helps me do that.
So, if you are serious with your writing-such small investments- like this book is worth it-
Once I received the book, I was very pleased with the information as I write A TON of descriptive things for my work. There's a table of contents that directs you to the various sections and what types of things they describe like shapes, colors, texture, landscape, and LOTS of information for a variety of character types/traits.
It's similar to a thesaurus but when you lack the basic ideas or run dry on a starting point for describing things, this is an excellent book that will help springboard your ideas.