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If you want to write a story with more interesting description, try this - from age 8 to age 18.

Sometimes a
thesaurus is too big, too hard to use and you don't know what word you're looking for anyway. This sheet is for
inspiration for stories. Find:
more interesting verbs for action sequences; [what is a verb?]
character reactions;
sensory language;
ways of creating mood [read more].
Verbs/ Action Words Smashed, crashed, splattered, shattered, scattered, splashed, raced, tilted, flickered,
flashed, tapped, slid, ran, leapt, jumped, darted, raced, paced, stepped, travelled, shifted, crawled, crept,
wove, dashed, pounced OR edged closer, stepped nearer, moved worriedly, walked softly, crept towards
Looking Peered, looked, glanced, studied, examined, picked up, studied, inspected, saw, imagined
Facial Expressions/ Reactions blinked, stared, gawped, stood amazed, stopped dead, mouth fell open OR
smiled, grinned, laughed, tried not to laugh OR blushed, went pink, stammered, stepped back, hands shaking,
shuddering, shivering, heart beat faster, pulse raced, heart beat in her ears, stomach tied tight
Adjectives SIZE Small, tiny, diminutive, neat, dainty OPPOSITE large, huge, gigantic, vast, limitless, endless
Weather Snowy, brilliant, gleaming, shining, sparkling OPPOSITE dark, dull, cloudy, grim, bleak OR wet,
glistening, gleaming, shining, misty, foggy, blurred, stormy, dark, bruised clouds, rain lashed down, sheets of
rain, golden sunlight OR dusty, bare, dry earth, barren (nothing will grow), featureless
Appearance Upright, straight, stiff OPPOSITE bent, wobbly, shaky, flowing OR weak-looking, feeble, delicate,
slim OPPOSITE strong, muscular, thick-set, heavy, powerful OR striped, patterned, floral, flower-pattern, dark,
light, shadowy Feelings comfortable, soft, gentle, inviting, welcoming OPPOSITE harsh, hard, unkind, brutal,
violent, desperate, vicious, cruel, uncaring, heartless Personality fussy, precise, careful, choosy OR messy,
dishevelled
Texture smooth, glassy, glossy OPPOSITE abrasive, rough, like sandpaper, like bark OR bumpy, rippled,
curved OR metallic, wooden, soft as silk (or petals), waxy, like cobweb, like lace, grassy
Sounds shrill, screeching, sharp, fierce, shrieking, high-pitched, piercing, whistling OR low, soft, melodious
(musical), mellow, murmuring, whispering, muted (quiet) OR booming, echoing, thrilling, tingling OR crashed,
banged, crackled, crunched, creaked, battered, hammered, pounded, beat, thudded, thumped, boomed
Smells musty, pungent (strong smelling), sour, stale OR sweet, s
spicy, warm, fresh, delicate, perfumed, suffocating
Tastes bitter, sweet, rich, dark, buttery, sour, dry, sharp, delicate, delicious OR vile, foul
Colours peach, coral (orange pink), pink, fuchsia (hot pink), ruby, magenta (deep hot pink), crimson (pinkish
red), blood-red, red, burgundy (dull purple red), maroon (bright purple red), purple, violet, indigo (purplish
blue), navy, deep blue, cobalt (bright dark blue), lapis lazuli (also a jewel), cornflower (sky blue), turquoise
(blue green), teal (dark green-blue), bottle green (deep green), verdant (like grass), emerald, lime (greenyellow), yellow, gold, silver, platinum (brightest silver), blonde, honey-blonde, strawberry blonde, copper
(rust/pale orange), russet (dark red brown), auburn (very dark red hair), brown, tan, mahogany, ebony (darkest
brown, almost black), steel, lead-coloured. You can also compound similar colours: blue-green, emerald
turquoise. Or pinkish, reddish, etc
Adverbs SPEED slowly, sluggishly OPPOSITE briskly, quickly, abruptly, suddenly MANNER clumsily, violently,
forcefully, vigorously, rudely, furiously OPPOSITE softly, gently, delicately, meekly, humbly OR eagerly,
excitedly.

What is Sensory Language?


Sensory language is a great way to 'add more detail' and 'be more specific' in your writing.
The examples below are meant for creative writing (stories) but also work well in persuasive writing too, when
you want to create a vivid (life-like) word picture.
Get more detail on how other writers use sensory language here.
Get a detailed list of interesting and useful vocabulary for sensory language here.
You can also comment on when other writers use it: they use more than one of the senses to create a vivid
picture or mood. Find some nice examples of description using sensory language here.
SIGHTS:
colour, (hot or cool, clashing, bright, neon, dark, light, pale)
shape, zoom in on interesting details, e.g. fingerprints in dust, eyeliner smudged as if shed been crying,
hands shaking
SOUNDS:
some effective techniques are:
onomatopoeia: crashed, banged, crackled
similes: a voice like a rusty gate, girls shrieked like monkeys fighting over the last banana
personification: wind sang a dismal tune
SMELLS:
Use adjectives like: musty, damp, stuffy, sweet, sickly, spicy, perfumed, suffocating
Use verbs like: wafted, filled the air
TEXTURES:
sticky, smooth, rough, soft, hard, silky, fluffy, fuzzy, starchy, crisp, corrugated, rippled, abrasive, cracked, etc
Similes: rough as sandpaper, soft as a jellyfish, moist as a tongue
TASTES:
Use vivid descriptive vocabulary to evoke flavours:
e.g. bitter, sweet, rich, dark, buttery, tasted like plastic (wet cardboard, a sponge) etc.

What is Sensory Language?


What is sensory langauge?
Its description that appeals to the five
senses in a noticeable way.
e.g.
Images flashed at the front of the room: smashed up
forests smouldering, hillsides washed away
in swirling brown mud, seabirds flapping in oil,
flames sweeping across deserts, belching blots
of thick black smoke.
e.g.

The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There


was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long
stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into
the gloom ofovershadowed distances.
On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned
themselves side by side.
When should I comment on this kind of
description?
When there's a noticeable clump using more than
one of the five senses, e.g. sight (colour, light),
texture (jagged, smooth, waxy etc), smells, tastes
(bitter).
Why do writers use it?
Sensory language creates mood and puts a vivid
picture in the readers mind.
Why should I comment on this?
It lets you score marks! Its a great thing to pick out
for questions like how do writers create mood and
atmosphere - usually in a description of a place - or
how does the writer create a vivid sense of place?
SIGHTS
colour, (hot or cool, clashing, bright, neon, dark, light, pale)
shape, zoom in on interesting details, e.g. fingerprints in dust, eyeliner smudged as if shed been crying,
hands shaking

SOUNDS:
some effective techniques are:

onomatopoeia: crashed, banged, crackled

similes: a voice like a rusty gate, girls


shrieked like monkeys fighting over the last banana

personification: wind sang a dismal tune


SMELLS:

Use adjectives like: musty, damp, stuffy, sweet,


sickly, spicy, perfumed, suffocating
Use

verbs like: wafted, filled the air

TEXTURES:

sticky, smooth, rough, soft, hard, silky, fluffy,


fuzzy, starchy, crisp, corrugated, rippled, abrasive,
cracked, etc

Similes: rough as sandpaper, soft as a jellyfish,

moist as a tongue
TASTES:

Use vivid descriptive vocabulary to evoke flavours:


e.g. bitter, sweet, rich, dark, buttery, tasted like
plastic (wet cardboard, a sponge) etc.