The use of a word palette/word hoard


There are many times when writing creatively that we have to describe a setting, a bit like painting a picture.  If words fail you then all is not lost, you can always create a word palette to help you get over this problem.  The exercise below will encourage you to put words on your palette and mix them together to create the setting that you so desire.


Imagine a setting in your head or look at a photograph that you’ve especially chosen for your setting.

Firstly, set a timer for 5 minutes and write down as many words as you can that come into your head that describe this setting.  List these words in a column.

Secondly, choose one word from the first column that you can rhyme with and then put this word on the top of a new ­­­­­­­­column and make a list of words that rhyme with it underneath.  You can se­­t a timer again for 5 minutes, but as time goes by, this second exercise will get harder and harder and you may run out of words before the 5 minutes are up.  A list of rhyming words like this is useful for writing a Villanelle

Thirdly, choose another word that you like again from the first column and put it at the top of a third column.  Then write as many words as you can that begin with the same letter as this chosen word in that column.  They do not have to be connected in any way, shape or form.

Fourthly, imagine or look at your image again and choose one word that describes an object in that image that you can easily see.  Then think up and write down as many words related to that object as you can under a fourth column.


It only takes one word that appears in one of your lists that just maybe you can follow up on.  This will now give you a kick start into describing a setting in your story, poem or book.

Above all writing down lists of words from your imagination onto a word palette is NEVER a waste of time, it feeds your creative roots and will enable you to create that setting that you started out to have trouble with and could not originally describe very well or at all.

If you found this exercise helpful, please feel free to comment or share.

Thank you

Lee 🙂

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