- Category: Current Issue
- Created on Sunday, 27 September 2015 03:58
- Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
- Hits: 3570
Vision # 80
Copyright © 2015, Connie Cockrell, All Rights Reserved
As writers we get bombarded with writing advice. As a new author it seemed to me that writing was all about what I wasn't supposed to do as opposed to what I could do. You all have heard the warnings. "Don't use adverbs." "Don't use exposition." "No head-hopping." "If you have to look up a word you shouldn't use it."
Yeah, well, those can all be good rules of thumb. It keeps us from writing sloppy, lazy stories. But as many of us have learned, there are no hard and fast rules.
So a couple of days ago I was writing a short story and like usual I was grasping at straws to name things. I was pantsing the story, something I don't often do, so I had to come up with names for things on the spot. The title of the story is "Attic of Eternity," a prompt I picked up from a fellow Forward Motion author.
Anyway, the story has become a fantasy, complete with dragons and wizards and seems to be a YA story to boot. So, I needed to name the kingdom my 12 year-old protagonist has found herself in.
Here's the good part. I used the story title to help me. Given there are only three words in the title, I focused on the word Eternity. To be honest, 'of' was of little help. I pulled up the thesaurus to see what would pop out at me.
There, first word in the list was aeon, a synonym for eternity. Perfect. My new kingdom would be called Aeonia. Here's a snip:
"Yes, please. It was hot out on the road." Zora stood beside Kenna and watched as the apprentice picked up a handle-less mug and poured it full. She handed it to Zora.
Zora drank the whole thing down.
Kenna poured her more and put the pitcher in the middle of the table. "What brings you to Aeonia?"
Of course I already knew what eternity meant but if I didn't, it can be read by clicking the link, see definition of eternity, to the right of the word at the top of the page. That takes you to a separate page in a new tab where you can get the complete definition.
I know a good many of the synonyms that are in the website list but I didn't know aeon. Flush with my success there, shortly in the story I needed to name the wizard. Up to this point I'd just been calling him the Wizard. Now was the time to give him a name.
Off to the right side of the page, usually under an ad, is a small paragraph about the origin of the word. In my case, it mentioned that eternity was part of old Mercian hymns. Well, Mercian sounded like a great name for a wizard. Here's a snip of where I named him.
Kenna wrapped rough brown twine around the bundle of chamomile, leaving a long tail to tie to the rafter. "I am. I started when I was a little older than you are. I was always fascinated by what Lord Mercian could do. I have always had a good hand with plants. Now I know all of the different ways they can be used, for food, for healing. It's very interesting." She lay the bundle aside and gathered another handful together. "What interests you?"
Some other good aspects of the page: below the synonyms are other lists that could prove helpful. First is the Other Adjectives list. There was a word there I'd never heard before: immarcescible. Cool!
Then there's a list of More words related to eternity. The words in that list are broken out and the user is given whole new lists of synonyms that relate to the new word. I can see where this expansion of possibilities would be helpful to a writer. It gives me more possibilities, perhaps one that I hadn't considered before.
To the right of these More Words, under another ad, is a section of examples on how to use the word in a sentence. Even more fun, at least for eternity, was that the section expanded so that I could get a lot of differing flavors of how the word could be used.
Finally, at the very end of the page, the site gives its source, Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.
I hope you can see that using a thesaurus can be helpful in more than one way. Enjoy your word searches.
Links Used in this article: