I don’t profess to have the world’s broadest vocabulary, so a thesaurus aids me in that capacity. What I find most helpful is how tunneling through synonyms, and their synonyms, triggers associations, as the meanings of those discovered words accentuate inferences within the narrative. Words are descriptors and a precise word in a passage can convey the perfect meaning. In my writing, a thesaurus becomes an invaluable creative tool, listing word choices, allowing me to reveal an aspect of the action or the motivation of a character.
A thesaurus helps me provide the reader with an emotional road map. It’s not, however a GPS. The reader remains at the wheel of any read…s/he interprets words through filters refined by years of experience and history. A thesaurus funnels me toward the words I hope will narrow the gap between intention and apprehension.
I’m interested in others’ views on the use of a thesaurus. Please feel free to weigh in with comments.