An Essential Piece of Kit

There is one book no writer can live without.

The English language is amazing, but there will be times when you need to find better words to get the story across.  A thesaurus will be your best friend, as will the dictionary it's attached to - make sure you're using unusual words in the correct context.

However, be wary of using unnecessarily unusual words.  I have a real pet-peeve about eyes being referred to as anything other than eyes.  No one ever says "wow, your orbs are so blue!" Try not to lose the realism by using inappropriate words.

If you want to practice, find a word you use a lot then use a thesaurus to replace it.  It's amazing what alternatives there are! 


  1. And, fortunately, now we can use (legitimate) digital versions of dictionaries and thesauruses... I don't own a paper dictionary, but I have the Merriam-Webster dictionary/thesaurus on my iPod (and it doesn't require the Internet), so it's always with me! :) I use a thesaurus quite a bit because I have a strong tendency to use the same word over and over.

    I agree about throwing people off with unusual words. I also hate when it's clear that an author is using "big" words just to sound intelligent. Yeah, go ahead and act like you're smarter than me. I'm going to put your book down straight away. :p

  2. I love my OED and I'm constantly digging through it.

    Ooh, I have that issue too! It comes across as arrogant and condescending rather than intelligent... except when it's used by Stephen Fry, who actually is a genius and completely awesome.


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