Okay, when I first started writing, I used to think that I had an adequate enough vocabulary to simply smash my keyboard until a story came out.

My first attempt at a “novel” was in Year 10. I had a Cassiopeia “Pocket PC,” and I was continuously writing a  Warhammer 40k – based fiction. However, I had issues connecting the device to anything else, and after holding onto the device for about five years, I eventually gave up on trying to remove it from the device’s memory. It was a sad day.


Skip forward about another year or so, and I started to pretend that I might actually be able to write something that someone else might want to read. I fancied myself a bit of a “professional” (N.B. to date my total earnings from writing total about $2,000, and almost exclusively from non-fiction), so I went out and bought a Thesaurus. Initially, it was just to sit on my bookshelf and look professional. I don’t think I opened it for about three years – during the writing of Katawa Shoujo.


My Study, Thesaurus on the desk, after completing AG Chapter 18


A thesaurus is an interesting beast, especially a small one like mine (only 300,000 entries). Without it, you can find yourself repeating yourself without even realising it. But simply having one in front of you is enough to “prime” you, and you become aware of the repetition or repeating yourself, like you are primed to notice it.

And if you notice this, and you pick up the book and thumb through its pages, you’ll find that you almost always find a better way of explaining the situation – even before you reach the word you were looking for.


Unfortunately for me, for reasons that are really boring, my thesaurus has been stuck in storage for almost a year. However, I now have my new bookshelf (already full and double-stacked in some areas), and my trusty companion is back.


As a result, Arctic Gale, which has taken all day to write and is 2-3 times longer than the average chapter (and 13% of the novel so far), should hopefully be a little more immersing.

So, please enjoy Chapter 18.


6 thoughts on “Hooray!

  1. When I was in high school, my girlfriend wanted to be a writer so for Christmas, one of the gifts I got her was a Dictionary and Thesaurus combo by Merriam & Webster. She was so insulted. o_0′ .. a year later when she was in college, the thanked me for it as she used them ALL the time. Yeah! Vindication! X)

    Oh speaking of words and such. What would be the Japanese equivalent for “rustic”. Like a rustic setting or furniture or similar. The little digging I got was about 7 different words, most having to do with being harsh or vulgar or boorish. If you know, that would be cool, if not, no worries.


    1. Hrm, that is weird. As with all of Japanese it is very contextual.

      The first word that sprung to mind is 田舎っぽい (Inaka-ppoi), which means “like the country,” but that is a little contextual as well (as you could use it as an insult). You could also use 田舎らしい (Inaka-rashii) if you were talking about an action or a person.

      Looking in the dictionary you could also get 野趣 (Yashu), but I haven’t heard that used before. It might be a little more formal though, and it seems to mean the “rustic beauty”….

      I think any writer that shuns their Thesaurus is doing themselves a disservice – even (as I mentioned) if you don’t get the exact word you were looking for. I imagine that this is partially due to the Priming Effect – just by looking at the Thesaurus you know that there are more words out there in the cosmos, so you are primed to think about better ways to describe things…

      1. Writing short stuff is a great exercise in NOT being repetitive. I found that I tend to write with participial phrases a bit too much. Not sure why, but there it is. Something to NOT shoot for. 😉
        Your first 2 examples are the ones I found most favorable. The 3rd I didn’t find, but it seems that’s more what I’m after. As I’m still only learning my Hiragana, I doubt I’ll be writing anything with it soon. heh. Thanks!

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