Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: How to Describe Pain – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: How to Describe Pain

One of the hardest parts of creative writing (for me, at least) is to describe the myriad sensations that flood the human body on any given day.

Think about it:

A twinge in your lower back from too much time spent sitting or lying down.

An ache in your knees from too much high intensity exercise.

A crick in your neck from sleeping in the wrong position.

A dull throbbing in your head from eye strain or stress.

And the list goes on!

Our bodies are flooded with thousands of sensations every day–ranging from “so minor as to be unnoticeable” to “debilitating”. Writing these sensations is surprisingly difficult. You can only say “his head ached” or “a twinge ran down his spine” so many times before it gets boring and dull.

This became a SERIOUS problem recently. As I’m working on Book 4 of The Last Bucelarii series, the main character (the Hunter) is suffering through a couple of days of pretty gruesome torture. I could only think of so many words to describe pain. I found my descriptions getting a bit repetitive.

Thankfully, the internet helped me out!

If you’re struggling with describing pain and painful sensations, here are a few places to check out:

MacMillan Dictionary This is a list of a few pain-related words. They’re mostly adjectives, but they can give you ideas of how to describe pain.

Put Learning FirstAt the bottom of this page is a list of awesome words to describe different types of pain (suffocating, stinging, sharp, shooting, blinding, etc.).

Reference for WritersThis list of descriptions is a bit basic, but there are a few ideas on how to “show” pain instead of “telling”.

Word DreamsThis is a list of 24 ways to describe pain without relying only on saying “it hurt”. There is a lot of “show, don’t tell” descriptions. (Note: Check out some of the other pages for more descriptions…)

Yahoo Answers A few people have given some pretty creative answers to how to describe pain.


Check out these sites for ideas on how to write your characters’ aches and pains without getting repetitive…


Struggling with a Problem? Walk it Out!


The Key to Writing Success: Hard Work

1 Comment

  1. David O'Shea

    Thanks a lot. This really helped with the story I’m writing

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