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I haven't read the whole book, but I am using it as reference. It is a very good basic reference book for writing descriptions, but some sections like, for example, the eye section, could be longer. As one of those writers who built an entire room onto her house to store all the books with scribbles in the margins, post-it notes, bookmarks, and dog-eared books marking my favorite passages, when David Grambs.
Ever found yourself grasping in vain for that ideal descriptive word lost somewhere within the misty recesses of your vocabulary? Or felt frustrated that an oddly shaped structure or pretty setting you wished to portray in writing didn't quite translate clearly to paper?
If you've ever stalled trying to depict the look of an object or animal or the looks of a particular person, The Describer's Dictionary is exactly the book you need. Open it, and you have not only just the right words but - bringing them to life - stellar literary examples of descriptive writing as well. The Dictionary concerns itself with the observable, from discrete shapes and patterns to buildings, terrain, furry and unfurry creatures, and human beings.
For example, for a word that denotes an object's proper or harmonious dimensions, flip to the "Shapes" category and there you'll find "proportional", "proportionate", "commensurate", and "eurythmic".
In some instances, where meanings are self-evident, simple listings of apt words are provided. As an inspiration to any writer - showing how it's done by the best - hundreds of colorful and evocative descriptive passages appear on facing pages, making this a singularly and richly different kind of reference book.
The quotations are first-rate examples of how the book's terminology can be used. The excerpts are drawn from the best American and British novelists, naturalists, and other nonfiction writers, from Dickens to Updike, from Darwin to McPhee. The Describer's Dictionary - uniquely focused on the physical and freeof the categorical and multiple-meaning confusions of a thesaurus - is a must for anyone wanting to have at hand just the right words to describe exactly what is being observed or depicted.
Within these covers you will find the answers to such questions as: What is the adjective for something shaped like a keyhole? How many words are there that mean silvery white in color?
What do you call a treeless plain, or a lake situated in a mountain basin? What features of an animal are important to keep in mind in describing it? What is a woman's conical coil of hair worn at the back of the neck called? The craft of description lives not only in great literature but in conversation, journalism, and personal letters written every day. For help in painting pictures with the English language, The Describer's Dictionary is one of the most indispensable reference tools you could own.
The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms & Literary Quotations
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ISBN 13: 9780393033991
A dictionary of the observable world features definition-first organization; passages from the writings of James, Updike, Chandler, and others; and words concerning shapes, textures, colors, terrain, structures, and more. His new work boasts more than entries not found in most thesauruses or dictionaries, the majority of them visually descriptive of the physical world and highly adjectival in form. Using reverse dictionary format, Grambs provides access by definitional phrases within the broad categories of "things," "earth and sky," "animals," and "people. Most verso pages contain examples of descriptive passages by well-known writers that are almost more helpful than the definitions themselves.