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Do you ever read a piece of writing advice so awful you’re not entirely sure if it’s satire or not.

If your character is an evil assassin, you might want to refer to his fingernails as daggers or stabbers.

Stabbers. Stabbers. Yep.

A jealous ex-girlfriend might have witch hooks or tentacles. Sugar- or flour-coated hands could be clues that a protagonist is a baker. Or a serial killer with a fetish.

Well this has taken an odd turn.

Use ‘hands’ too often, and the word will annoy readers. English offers a multitude of options.

Oh no.

Analyze what the hands are doing and assign a noun that suits them. In addition to the following, check the Movement section for verbs you could convert into nouns. For example, ‘boo-boo soothers’.

Get the fuck out of here.



shadow puppeteers




See also 300+ Words to Describe Human Skin.


Offers omg “stabbes”? You know what? That’s not how writing works. You say what you need to. You say it plainly. If you need to transform it, there had better be a reason, like Shakespeare’s “By these pickers and stealers”.

If you use the same word too many times and it grates on the nerves, then you rearrange the sentences or reformat the scene. You don’t just arbitrarily change words around! Wtaf

I was going to respond like that, but I was waiting for the polish to dry on my stabbers

Your artful-mannies, you mean? Yeesh

Yeah, you know, my daggers. My prestidigitators.


I can think of one word for skin: contiguous external integument

I think my vocabulary is respectable, and then you say one sentence and I have to look up two words.

Apologies.I am resplendent with synonyms.

It’s enjoyable. Don’t apologize or curb your linguistic resplendence. ( @kristinalmeister, fight me)

What??? WHY!?

I didn’t do anything! Simon wtf do you tell these people? are you talking about the whole me making him use words that are known instead of ones people have to look up? That’s for very good reasons. He can use a few, but there’s a math to how it is done in a way that doesn’t tank sales

*laughs* Yes, that is to what I’m referring. I’m aware of the sales implications. It just feels strange to know he’s had to cut his vocabulary breadth when I’m reading his work, especially since I’d rather LEARN.

Look, if you want me to leave in concupiscence I can, it’s just….a word that really breaks the mood when it’s in context.

That word drips with atmosphere and connotation. Good luck replacing it.

Well shit! It is a word that means sexual lust and involvement. I can’t let him put that in a love scene. No! It cannot go there. It stops the mood dead. There is no sexual ANYTHING when that word gets involved.

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