Thursday, August 29, 2013

Paint me a word picture by Jim Hart

So there I was, looking for another word for ‘thesaurus’….

When is it appropriate to go to the thesaurus? I don’t know - when is it appropriate to consult a dictionary, or to use spell check?  And when is it appropriate for a man to stop and ask for directions? Or maybe the real question is, when does a guy admit asking for directions?(That’s a topic for another day…).

I think there should be no shame in consulting a thesaurus. The benefits obviously, or should I say clearly, or should I say discernibly……oh, you know what I mean……

I find using a thesaurus keeps me writing quickly (swiftly) while the thought (idea, notion) in my head is trying to make the journey (trek, voyage) from my brain to my fingers.

I’m more apt (ready, skilled) to get my thoughts (ideas, feelings) down before I forget (disremember, unable to recall) when consulting the thesaurus. It quickly helps(aids, assists) me to find a more suitable (appropriate, proper) word; or gives me more options (choices, selections); or stops me from using the same word repeatedly (constantly, repetitively, over and over and over and over again). But then again, I like reading the Amplified Bible. 

In the end, it’s all about our vocabulary.  I will say that overall, a healthy reading habit is probably one of the best ways to continually add to our personal lexicon (I thought of ‘lexicon’ all by myself without consulting the thesaurus). I remember an exercise that my grade school English teacher had our class do many years ago. We were to write a short story mimicking the style of one of our favorite authors. I chose Ray Bradbury. As a kid I recognized his ability to transport me to the location of his story by his expressive, yet simple, descriptions of place and events.  I really liked the words that he chose. They were perfect.

So – paint me a word picture, but please don’t keep using the same colors (pigments, hues).


Jennifer Major said...

For his grade three science experiment, my son did "carbon dioxide and carbon sequestration". Which sounds a whole lot more epic than "how trees breathe". When it came time to present the project, the teacher raised an eyebrow and said "So, Nerdchild Geekmeister(not his real name), can YOU explain this to the class?" And he did. AND he got an A.

Linda Glaz said...

So tired when we, as authors, get hung up on one word and use it over and over again. And sometimes, it isn't even a particularly impressive word. But you can count on seeing it every couple paragraphs. I'm so guilty of this and try very hard not to do it.

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I have a terrible problem with repetition in my writing. If you want a book that's steps above a basic thesaurus, then you should use the synonym word finder:

It helps me immensely with my writing.

David B. Smith said...

One great way to keep the writing (and verbiage) fresh is to simply keep reading WIDELY yourself. I was immersed in a good novel the other day and came across the seldom used phrase: so-and-so had a "solemn mien." Hadn't seen that for a while! It's also helpful to just click on the "Find" feature if you suspect you're leaning on a particular word too often.