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Non-fiction Book Review: The Writer’s Body Lexicon

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

The Writer’s Body Lexicon

by Kathy Steinemann

Genre: Non-fiction: thesaurus; editing & writing reference

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What is it about?

A handy tool for allowing your characters to communicate non-verbally with their bodies, other than just nodding and shrugging. If you enjoy embellishing your colour descriptions with unique adjectives, this book offers plenty of creative alternatives to describe all the colours of the rainbow (e.g. toilet-bowl grey … delightfully ew!)

Great Emotive Language

For each body part, Steinemann goes into detail about not only the physical descriptors one can use, but the underlying emotional beats that can be conveyed through the motion of body parts too.

Each section of the book contains similes and metaphors to show how words in that section can be used in writing (e.g. I explored the Garden of Eden that was Edwina’s body, following every path, turning every leaf, savoring every scent.). These examples can be easily modified for new writers who get stuck with coming up with their own—writing good similes and metaphors, which aren’t clichéd, takes practice.

How to Use

The Writer’s Body Lexicon is not one of those books you read cover to cover. This is where having the ebook is handy because you can search up a word (e.g. shrug or shoulders) and then hop around to the relevant sections that give descriptions around this word. Steinemann’s website is a fantastic additional resource packed with loads of word lists and cheat sheets—in fact, all of her books in The Writer’s Lexicon series began as blog posts on her websites. The books neatly package that info in one handy spot.


Steinemann covers the basics in this book, which makes it a good place for writers (especially newbies) to start. While The Writer’s Body Lexicon deals with a wide range of topics, I would have preferred to see a few more in-depth examples in some sections. Though, it is still a very handy resource to have, especially in the editing phase.

Where to Buy

Links available through Kathy Steinemann's website.


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