Friday, November 04, 2005

My Thoughts on Maya Reynolds' post: My Reference Shelf

Maya mentions using a Synonym Finder (Book 5) with extreme caution. I agree and disagree. Like so many "rules" of writing, this one needs closer examination.

Yes, using a thesaurus to find really esoteric terms to plug into your ms is both lazy and can really jar the reader. BUT, using a thesaurus to jumpstart your creativity, or find that word on the tip of your tongue, can be a life saver when you're writing under pressure.

The key is, as with so many aspects of writing, to understand what you're doing.

I use a thesaurus a lot, I admit. Because I writer historicals, I often need synonyms for contemporary words that my characters couldn't possibly have uttered. Along with Etymonline, I make liberal use of the 1911 edition of Roget's Thesaurus available at the UChicago website.

BUT, if I can't find a word that's quite right for what I'm trying to say, I rewrite rather than just choosing any word that seems like it might work.

Like so many of the other "rules" we hear so much about, you can break this one if you understand it in the first place.


So how did I do after all my whining yesterday? Well, not bad. The scene is almost completely done. I couldn't come up with a final paragraph, so I left that for today. Am hoping it will come to me in a flash of brilliance while I'm at the booksale this morning. Have to wait for the painters to arrive before I can leave, so I may join the line to get into the sale further back than I normally do :-(

It was funny with that scene - I tried to make it a completely new one and it was horrible. Then I found a note I left in my ms saying to have Cecile and Adrian discuss her prison experience in another scene. So I moved the partial scene I'd written into the already written one and it worked way better. Much relief.

Sean also reminded me I just have to take things one by one. And remember when writing new bits for the ms, not to get caught up in worrying about telling, not showing etc. Just write what I need to and edit it later - after it's sat for a bit. And he's right. I thank God every day for giving me such a wonderful husband.

Well, I'd best go check on the cats. They're upstairs, probably poking into the painters' tools etc. Silly kitties.

Happy Friday :-) I'll post my booksale finds later on the weekend. My big birthday party is tomorrow, so I may not get to blog again till Sunday.


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