Commend, laud, honor, acclaim, extol, venerate.

In other words, in praise of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Roget’s is my third most favorite writing resource.
Number one is my imagination.
Number two is my computer.

My Roget’s is dog-eared, tattered, ripped, rent, and damaged. I love it. I simply adore finding the word that makes a sentence sing.

For the most part, my writing style is simple. I have no illusions about what I write. It’s entertainment, easy, uncomplicated, pleasing as stroll down a shady lane, but sometimes I just need a better word.

Maybe I used handsome three times on one page. I try to avoid those echo words that writer’s notice, but ordinary readers gloss right over. Shift+F7 gives me the thesaurus in Microsoft Word. I use it frequently, but there is something more satisfying about grabbing the book with the broken spine and falling out, ragged pages.

Leafing though all those words gives me new ideas. Sometimes, they take my story or my characters in a whole new direction.

Handsome = attractive, good-looking, elegant, stately, majestic, gorgeous.
Elegant is the word that fits best tonight.

The elegant Dr. Peter Mark Roget created his thesaurus in 1805 but it was not released to the public until 1856. Imagine what it must be like to create a book every writer looks to. He's been called the man who became a book. I like that. His is the book that helped me become a writer.
What books have been your inspiration for writing?
Besides Roget, I can name three others that seriously influenced me.
The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodwiss (my first romance)
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. (the best character study of a hero ever)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby (proof that I can write no matter what problems life throws at me)
Happy writing


Joan Vincent said...

Roget's is also a favorite of mine although that wasn't always the case. For some reason it took me some time and several tries before I figured out how to do that. Meanwhile I used Reader's Digest's Family Word Finder. Not in Roget's class but I almost wore it out before moving on.
Sadly I don't know the title of the book and started me on my writing path. It was a medieval romance with knights etc and I can tell you the entire story line but the title, nope can't fetch it from the recesses of my mind. How I wish I could. The first book I wrote was a medieval romance that kept growing and prodding an pushing until I had to write it. As for regencies, most of you have heard how I was flat on my back for some weeks and read well over 200 regencies and decided I could write one ot better than some of them. Some would say I was arrogant, insolent, haughty, disdainful, imperious, overweening, or on my high horse. What I really was, was young and ignorant and unaware that I didn't know diddly squat about getting published. They say God watches over fools--thank goodness! It's one way to explain my published regencies.

Reese Mobley said...

I too rely on my thesaurus. The one on my computer isn't very complete but it does get the brain working a little harder. It's so gratifying when you finally hit on the right word. Thanks for a great post, Pat.

BTW, my word is boopfre. Doubt if any thesaurus could replace that one. (grin)

Pat Davids said...

Joan, I, too, fell in love with medieval romances after reading the Wolf and the Dove.

Here is a fact about me few people know.

Ivanhoe was my favorite book in High School. We had to read it for English class. No one else in my class admitted to liking it. I thought it was wonderful. I'm sure Mr. Roget would have a better word for it.

Reese, my word is guntirr. Good word, don't you think? I may use it in some future Sci-Fi book I write.


Penny Rader said...

Great post, Pat! I love thesauruses (thesauri?).

The first writing book I ever read was Writing Romance Fiction for Love and Money by Helene Schellenberg Barnhart. I was so enthralled by this book that I kept it checked out from the library for four solid months (with the help of my little sis) and took many, countless, and copious notes. ;D

Oh, my verification word is orypo. Hmmm. I could threaten to orypo a new one for someone, but I'm much too sweet. (mwah-hah-hah-hah) ;D

Nina Sipes said...

I'm ticked at Roget's. It is a nice effort, but the word I need is never there. So, I had several dictionaries of various vintage as well as a book on sailboats taking up space on the top of my desk. The thesaurus in Word is so lacking, it frustrates me no end. All of the feeling of being thwarted is probably from a severe lack of imagination on my part, but I have found a pearl. Lately, Roxann, or I think it was her and not someone else, told me about The Synonym Finder. I LOVE it, love it, love it. I then passed my Roget's on to a collegette. She's already used it to good effect and I'm tickled to get a better source for me. I love the Synonym Finder so much that I've been able to ditch several of the dictionaries too. If anyone ever finds a way to get The Synonym Finder loaded for use on the computer, pleeeese let me know.

I too liked Ivanhoe and was so surprised to find my hero Robin Hood was a minor character in it.