My Kingdom for a Thesaurus!

How many of you have screamed this after reading a book written by an author with a less than stellar grasp on their vocabulary? I’ve heard a few readers say they’d like to beat the authors of these books over the head with a thesaurus. That conjures an interesting mental image, isn’t it?

One thing that permeates the self-publish world is authors who use the same word throughout their novel. Some call it ‘crutch words’, and every writer falls prey to this at one time or another. I do, but only in the first draft and revisions take care of it. No, I’m not picking on self-published writers, it’s just many of them either don’t have the money for a copyeditor to point these things out, or they’re in such a rush to make those millions of dollars that they don’t bother.

A writer’s job is to portray a story through the use of words, but how we use those words is a strong indication of our ability to craft a an interesting plot. This isn’t word-building where you use descriptions to paint a picture of a scene, but rather (I find) the action words that give characters a more life-like and real appearance.  For each action, there are several different words. Everyone is looking in my stories (no, not filtering. That’s another blog post); he looked at her, or she looked at him. Look, look, look, look, look. The word has now lost all meaning to me and probably to you too, so let’s get rid of it.

Bring in the all-mighty THESAURUS!

http://thesaurus.com/

Writers, meet your new best friend, the thesaurus. While most writing programs have one built in, but sometimes we need to stretch our vocabulary even farther. Unique words are good, but don’t make them so unusual that the reader has to go online to look up their meaning. I’ve found a couple sites that are wonderful for finding new words

http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.ca/ and  http://www.dailywritingtips.com/

The Bookshelf Muse is full of useful links and the best thing about both these sites is you can have their posts sent directly to your inbox.

My writing friend April Brown gave me this link;

http://hiveword.com/wkb/search

I’m curious, are there genre-specific ones? Now THAT would be cool. What links do you have?

EDIT: Here are more links from commenters.

KM Cambion suggested Tip of My Tongue

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

5 Responses to My Kingdom for a Thesaurus!

  1. I became aware of the “look” problem in my own writing recently. That and ‘feel’. They look and feel everything!!!! SIGH! Glad I’m not the only one circling those words in bright red ink!!!

    • Nope, I’m guilty too, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. It’s not a flaw; look is a good word to use, but in a temporary sort of thing. Revisions are where a writer needs to get creative. 😀

  2. kmcambion says:

    I have definitely seen that before, and I’m guilty of doing it as well at times. It makes me want to hit myself with a thesaurus!

    Here is a cool link: Sometimes, I end up using a “crutch” word because I just can’t think of the word i want to use. Tip of My Tongue helps you to come up with that word that you just can’t think of.

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