Evocative Word Lists for Writing

Written by A Guest Author | March 7, 2017

By Virginia Brasch

As a writer, I’ve seen many great lists: descriptive words, adjectives, strong verbs, over used adverbs, clichés to avoid, romantic words, crutch words, and on and on. I also love to scribble in notebooks when my own manuscripts need rethinking, something to keep my hands busy and my mind moving in a creative direction.

So I love to find new or underused evocative words for a project; words that bring about a picture or a mood into my mind and ideally the reader’s mind as well. I jot them down and leave them on sticky notes reminding myself to use them throughout the story. The words change with each project, as the picture I hope to conjure changes with each story, but the fascination with language always remains.

Creating these lists and collecting these words has helped strengthen my writing. Maybe your own list (theoretical or real) looks very different from mine, but mine can still serve as inspiration.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite evocative words:

  • aberration
  • abhor
  • ache
  • acrid
  • adroit
  • ancient
  • appetite
  • arid
  • ashen
  • audacity
  • backbone
  • baleful
  • bellicose
  • bereaved
  • bewildered
  • bleak
  • blinding
  • bloodcurdling
  • brazen
  • breath
  • broken
  • cashmere
  • caustic
  • chaotic
  • cherish
  • clench
  • coarse
  • corpulent
  • courage
  • crave
  • crippling
  • crisp
  • curious
  • deafening
  • decorous
  • defy
  • deleterious
  • demagogue
  • desire
  • diaphanous
  • disastrous
  • discordant
  • dowdy
  • dulcet
  • dynamic
  • eccentric
  • emollient
  • enrage
  • envy
  • ephemeral
  • euphoric
  • exude
  • fallen
  • feckless
  • feisty
  • fickle
  • florid
  • forbidden
  • frenetic
  • frown
  • gloom
  • gossamer ephemeral
  • groan
  • haggard
  • hard
  • harpy
  • havoc
  • hedonist
  • hiss
  • histrionic
  • hunger
  • incendiary
  • ingénue
  • insolent
  • intrepid
  • irksome
  • juicy
  • leathery
  • lilt
  • loathe
  • lurch
  • lurking
  • lush
  • moan
  • mordant
  • murmur
  • need
  • oath
  • off-limits
  • opulent
  • pervasive
  • playful
  • pliant
  • pluck
  • plunge
  • power
  • powerful
  • pungent
  • rancorous
  • raspy
  • recalcitrant
  • redolent
  • rejection
  • restrained
  • rigid
  • ruthless
  • scheme
  • searing
  • secret
  • seethe
  • shame
  • shatter
  • sheer
  • shrill
  • shuffled
  • sinew
  • sinful
  • skittish
  • solid
  • spunk
  • stark
  • startle
  • stubby
  • succulent
  • surreptitious
  • thermal
  • thick
  • thrust
  • thundering
  • turbulent
  • twisted
  • venomous
  • visceral
  • vitriol
  • voracious
  • vulnerable
  • warped
  • watery
  • weathered
  • whimpering
  • whisper
  • wiry
  • withering
  • wraith

Bio: Virginia Brasch is a romantic suspense writer, currently in between publishers, navigating the perilous trenches of writing and querying, craft and business. She is always up for exchanging writing advice, words of encouragement, or funny gifs so you can find her on twitter (@Virginia_Brasch).