My kids chuckled when I brought this book into the house. Who wouldn’t? The smart remarks flew like germs in a sneeze. All I could do was stand there and take it. I couldn’t deny their claims: It was a great dictionary for me, one that would help with editing my stories.
The Dimwit’s Dictionary—5,000 overused words and phrases and alternatives to them by Robert Hartwell Fiske is a very interesting book and one I proudly display in the reference section of my bookshelf. I’ve had it since 2008 (Second Edition) and have used it many times.
This is the perfect book for finding and eliminating common phrases from your work. For example: When William received the news, he raced around the grocery store like a chicken with its head cut off.
You can look up that common phrase and see what it’s called. In this case (like a) chicken with its head cut off is referred to as an insipid simile. You’ll also find words to replace the phrase: agitated, crazed, demented, deranged, frantic…
It’s your job to work a replacement word into the sentence.
When William received the news, he raced around the grocery store frantically.
When William received the news, he raced around the grocery store in a demented state.