How many of you have noticed the feebleness of Microsoft Word’s thesaurus? Raise your hands! Have you noticed that sometimes it even gives the wrong synonyms for the word selected? How bad is that? Don’t these geeks understand how important the right word is to writers? That words are to us what gigabytes are to them? If writers were more organized, we’d have gathered together to stone the geeks responsible by now.
In Googling Microsoft Word Thesaurus to see if anyone else has discovered the idiocy of this electronic garbage, I ran across Pete Moore’s paean to Roget’s Fourth, my personal favorite, at http://www.absolutewrite.com/fun/thesauri.htm. It’s not only a hilarious column (try Roget for translating the Gettysburg address sometime), but it verifies that Microsoft has deliberately CENSORED the thesaurus. Not just messed up the definitions but eliminated entire words because THEY thought they were inappropriate, words like “idiot” for instance. How dare they? Did they think school kids would spend their day sending each other notes with more intelligent substitutions for idiot?
And even knowing how bad Word’s thesaurus is, I still automatically click to it when the word I want eludes me, because that one click is so much simpler than diving into my beloved Roget’s. I may go directly to Roget when I can’t remember the name for the part of a ship that I need, or a color I want, or all the other fascinating things that I can find once I start playing in wonderland, because nothing electronic can replace a book. Just the index can remind me of the word I need, which is what Word ought to do and doesn’t. But sometimes, when I need that elusive perfect word, I sink into Roget, and I’m lucky to come out of my trance in ten or fifteen minutes. Which is why I keep going back to that danged one click. Time is precious.
So I’m tickled to have discovered a new trick, www.thesaurus.com. I’ve only been playing with it a week or so, but it’s been absolutely fabulous in helping me find better words than the overworked ones I have in my revised manuscript. There are only so many ways one can say “superhuman power” before it gets old, especially if I’m writing about the 18th century when there weren’t any scientific terms for telekinesis or the like. This on-line thesaurus comes directly from my beloved Roget’s, gives me antonyms and related words along with the synonyms, and all by simply typing in a word. I keep it open at the bottom of my screen and click on it whenever I need inspiration. I think I’m in love all over again.
Do you have any thesaurus stories? MS Word stories?
And just because I’m so tickled to have real bookshelves again, I’m including a photo of the partially completed ones my husband is building for me. And I’m supposed to remind you that I’m blogging daily on my progress from idea through proposal to …hopefully…sale, along with rants on writing life, at www.patriciarice.blogspot.com. And also about www.feedblitz.com which can feed blogs directly into your mailbox. I’m actually reading blogs regularly now! When you hit the site, realize "subscription" means sign up for a blog. (So, I’m a dolt. )