Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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

In other words, praise.
Pat Davids here.
This blog is 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 perfect 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 wonderful words often 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.

Besides Roget, I can name four other books that seriously influenced me in my career.
The Bible.
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 a writer can write no matter what)

What books have been an inspiration in your career or life?


Eva Maria Hamilton said...

He waited over 50 years for his book to be released to the public! We should check to see if the word 'patience' has the most words beside it :)

Pat Davids said...

I so agree.

Jenna Mindel said...

Oh, I love my Synonymn Finder. It's always within reach when I write - especially during edits!

I'd describe my writing style as simple too. I love the magic that happens with simple things in life - the waves, spiderwebs covered in dew, eating an ice cream cone. :)
A excellent romance that created that magic out of the mundane was Pamela Morisi's "Simple Jess."
I love how the author depicted everyday life in that mountain world.

It's something I hope to achieve with my own writing. :)