Book Review: The Synonym Finder, by Nancy LaRoche

For writers, there's always a search for the right word. My strategy is to just get the story down in the first draft. Later, when I read it over, invariably I find I've used the same word more than once in a short space. 

So it's time for a synonym.

However, the list of synonyms that comes with a computer, or a word-processing program are limited, at best. I've used Roget's Thesaurus, and a few other paperback volumes, but I generally fall back on the computer list because it's easier.

But the other day, a writer I love, Tosca Lee, made this statement on Facebook: "My favorite thesaurus. If I could endorse this book, I would." She was talking about The Synonym Finder, by Nancy LaRoche.

Such praise sent me over to Amazon, where I love to use the "look inside" feature to check if a book will make it on my wish list. The back cover explains the main features best:

~more than 1 million synonyms
~simple alphabetical arrangement--no separate index necessary
~separate subdivisions for the different parts of speech and different meanings of the same word
~expanded to include thousands of new words and expressions that have entered the language in recent years
~includes clearly labeled slang and informal words and expressions, as well as rare, archaic, scientific and other specialized terms
~minimum cross references

It's amazing that one thesaurus can help writers of all genres. Of course, you'd expect it to have contemporary words, but there are scientific words for the sci-fi writer, archaic words for the historical writer, and rare words that might appeal to the fantasy writer.

Can a computer thesaurus do all that? I doubt it. This book is on my list to purchase.

For the visual writers among us, you might enjoy the Visual Thesaurus, a free online application. How do you find synonyms?

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