For Children

Gabrielle Herzig

At Play With Roget: My Friend the Thesaurus

2011 5th-6th Grade Prose Winner

I hate writer's block. It's irritating, infuriating, exasperating, maddening, trying, tiresome, troublesome, bothersome, nettlesome, irksome, vexing, cursed, vexatious, galling, and it gets on my nerves. It is especially annoying when you cannot seem to find the right word so you simply use them all. When I think I have that ideal, without fault, faultless, flawless, consummate, quintes≠sential, exemplary, best, ultimate, unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, unparalleled, beyond compare, without equal, second to none, too good to be true, Utopian, incomparable, peerless, inimitable, unexcelled, unsurpassed, unsurpassable and absolutely perfect idea; it just slips away from my brain. It goes in one ear and out the other.

She grasped the sacred golden Roman locket, and quickly slipped it into her bag. No, too many adjectives, how about: The sly girl swiftly slipped the sacred Roman locket into her bag.

Nope! All I did that time was change a couple of words, and rearrange the sentence. I also added alliteration, but using a poetry technique in a fictitious story is just plain odd. What about this: Slipping the golden Roman locket into her bag, the girl quickly dashed out the door before anyone could catch a glimpse of her.

Oh, I know you're supposed to start sentences with verbs, but it just doesn't sound right in this sentence. Here let me try again. Maybe I should go on to the next sentence: Dashing down the spiral staircase on the second floor of the Barracco Museum in Rome, this mysterious girl did her best to keep the guilt in her eyes concealed.

Hey, that actually wasn't too bad! Did you see the foreshadow there, that she might have stolen the necklace? After darting out of the secret side entrance, she finally made it to the cold leather backseat of her boss's Jaguar. The elegant black vehicle was waiting for her in a dark alley near the museum.

That was good right? Did you like how I gave you a hint that she might have stolen the necklace for her boss? "Is the mission complete," said a burly man wearing a fedora and black sunglasses. The girl nodded as the man briskly handed her a large bundle of cash. Little did her boss know that hidden within the girls ring was a microscopic chip recording the evidence of the scam.

No, I don't think the word scam fits the mood. How about: fraud, swindle, fraudulent scheme, racket, trick, con, felony, flimflam (never heard of that one!), gyp, or shakedown. Oh no! I'm stuck in thesaurus mode again! Hmmmm... How about: Although the boss believed the girl was on his side, hidden in her ring was a microscopic recording device saving every last word of their conversation. "Working for the FBI can be exhilarating," the girl thought silently; as she stashed the bundle of cash in her pocket, ready to catch this crook once and for all. She exited the car and hopped on her mo-ped (parked especially for this get-away) immediately squeezing the gas handle. "He's falling right into the arms of our trap," thought the girl with a grin spreading across her face. She zoomed down the cobble stone streetÖ

Hey look! My writer's block actually lead to a pretty good intro. It captivates the reader's attention and leaves a cliffhanger that will keep them yearning for more. Who knew that messing around with a thesaurus could lead to the key to overcoming writer's block.