Descriptive Adjectives for Creative Writing

descriptive adjectivesWriting creatively is often viewed as one of the most difficult types of writing because of how much work is involved. You have to create characters, design a plot, and even come up with settings. A lot of description goes into writing creatively in order to make the story really come alive. As such, you’re probably going to need a lot of descriptive adjectives.

You can use these adjectives to describe the people in your stories, the places, or even the actions happening place. If you need help creating character sketches, take a look at this article on the subject. Below are lists of descriptive adjectives you can use for your creative writing. Take a class in turning your creative writing ideas into pages.

Adjectives for Describing the People in Your Stories

Here’s a brief list of adjectives you can use to describe all of the characters involved in your story. They are listed alphabetically with a brief dictionary definition of the word. Overcome writer’s block with this online course, and keep the words flowing.

  • articulate: the ability to speak fluently and coherently; synonyms include eloquent, fluent, persuasive, and expressive.
  • bossy: enjoys giving out orders to others, domineering; synonyms include pushy, overbearing and controlling.
  • careful: avoiding danger, or doing things with thought and attention; synonyms include cautious, alert, wary, diligent, scrupulous, deliberate, and attentive.
  • defiant: showing resistance and disobedience; synonyms include resistant, obstinate, uncooperative, and noncompliant.
  • energetic: showing an excessive amount of activity or vitality; synonyms include spirited, animated, bouncy, bubbly, and active.
  • frustrated: expressing distress or annoyance especially because of a character’s inability to change or complete something; synonyms include defeated, disappointed, and crushed.
  • giving: being of a generous nature; synonyms include generous.
  • honest: free of deceit and untruthfulness, sincere; synonyms include truthful, sincere, frank, open, and straight.
  • imaginative: having or showing creativity or inventiveness; synonyms include creative, inspired, inventive, and resourceful.
  • joyful: feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness; synonyms include happy, cheerful, jolly, and joyous.
  • kind: having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature; synonyms include loving, affectionate, caring, and good-natured.
  • lazy: unwilling to work or use energy; synonyms include inactive, sluggish, idle, and lethargic.
  • messy: untidy or dirty; synonyms include dirty, grubby, and grimy.
  • nervous: a person who is easily agitated or alarmed, tends to be anxious or high strung; synonyms include anxious, edgy, and neurotic.
  • obnoxious: a person who is annoying to others around him; synonyms include unpleasant, nasty, repugnant, and insufferable.
  • prim: someone who acts stiffly formal and respectable, someone who shows disapproval of anything seen as improper; synonyms include proper, formal, stuffy, and prudish.
  • quiet: a person who makes little or no noise; synonyms include silent, hushed, and shy.
  • reliable: someone who can be trusted and consistently performs well; synonyms include dependable, genuine, and trustworthy.
  • stubborn: someone unwilling to change their attitude or position on something especially when shown good arguments or reasons against their position; synonyms include obstinate, strong-willed, and inflexible.
  • tricky: someone who is crafty, deceitful, or sly; synonyms include sharp, calculating, slick, and slippery.
  • unique: a person who is unlike any other or goes against the grain of society; synonyms include individual, special, and distinctive.
  • vain: a person who has a high opinion of their appearance, abilities, or worth; synonyms include conceited, narcissistic, egotistic, and self-obsessed.
  • wild: a person who is uncontrolled or unrestrained in their actions; synonyms include unrestrained, unruly, disorderly, and rowdy.

Adjectives Used to Describe Setting, Action, and People

When describing setting and action, there are a number of different adjectives you can use. You can use simple adjectives, compound adjectives, and proper adjectives. It’s important to note that when using more than one descriptive adjective, you’re going to need to write them in their proper order. You can read an article that details the order adjectives should be written in.

  • Using Simple Adjectives

The most basic of adjectives, these can be used to describe feelings, time, sound, quantity, taste, appearance, size, age, shape, and material. Examples of simple adjectives used to describe feelings include amused, confused, and depressed. Time can be expressed with simple adjectives using words like ancient, early, long, old, or short. Adjectives like loud or low can describe sound.

You can use adjectives like enormous, huge, or small to describe quantity. Numbers can also be used to describe exact quantities. Taste can be described using words like bitter, sweet, and spicy. Appearance adjectives can include colors like blue, brown, and green. Size can also be described using appearance adjectives like small, large, short, or tall. The same can be said for age and shape – old, young, round, and square. Material can also be described in the same manner with words like soft, rough, and silky. Join the novel writing workshop for help with your story.

  • Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives involve hyphenating two or more words to allow those words to work together to create an adjective. You can use these compound adjectives to describe many of the same things simple adjectives can be used to describe. They can make a great difference when writing. See the two examples below. Take a class to learn how to write with flair.

First Example

The little girl was only three years in age. She chased after a red ball, laughing in excitement. Grabbing the round rubber ball, she ran back toward her mother.

Second Example

The three-year-old chased after the red rubber ball, laughing in excitement. She caught it and ran back toward her mother.

As you can see, adding a compound adjective will allow you to describe the little girl’s age without requiring a completely separate sentence.

  • Proper Adjectives

These particular adjectives are derived from proper nouns. You can use them to describe people and settings. For example, you could describe a tricky American man or a quiet Christian girl. You could also describe a Peruvian restaurant or Catholic church. Proper adjectives like this are great to give a lot of detail in just a few words.

Final Note

Like any word usage, adjectives should be used properly. Too many, and you could lose your reader to your description. Too few, and your reader won’t have a clear idea of what people look like, where they are, or even what they’re doing. When picking your adjectives, make sure they add to your writing, and don’t throw too many into one sentence.