Last summer, a friend who had read my novel Painting The Invisible Man offered this compliment: "I enjoy a writer who knows her way around a thesaurus."
Admittedly, at first, I prickled. And although I tried, I could not rein in my response. "I do in actuality have a very good command of language."
"I didn't mean that as an insult," she replied with just enough of a hurt-filled tone, I felt an immediate need to do penance.
Truth be told, I do rely on a thesaurus...and I proudly own a superb Thomas Y. Crowell Company edition of Roget's International Thesaurus. I use it as a trigger when I am trying to recall a word I know conveys just the right connotation. For example, I may want to describe the rather staid Englishman's reaction, not as prudish, but....(here's where I may turn to Monsieur Roget, for I know the better word exists, but at the moment it refuses to break through my middle-aged brain)...Ah, yes! The word I seek is not 'prudish,' but rather 'priggish'. A much better choice of word for a male character.
But, the use of a thesaurus merely to impress will more than likely render language that sounds pretentious or just plain wrong.
Use your thesaurus wisely and your writing will have substance and style.
From My Journal: Calm and Refresh
4 hours ago