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Wallowing in the MUDs with Raslazel

A series of articles about MUDs and gaming in general, involving strategy and commentary on role-play and having fun.

Author: Raslazel

Design and Description: How to Not Abuse a Thesaurus

Posted by Raslazel Wednesday July 4 2012 at 3:55PM
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In a text-based world, like that of the top MUD Achaea, it's important for your enjoyment and that of those around you that things are well-written. From clothing to player descriptions, there are some excellent models to work from and several poor examples, too.

This is a guide to making whatever it is you're writing look its best without breaking the spine of your thesaurus.

Rule 1. Do not, I repeat, do not use the most obscure synonym possible. For the love of context, please avoid this. Using extremely uncommon words is a bad idea for two reasons: (a) unless you know the word in question, you'll probably use it incorrectly and (b) no one else will know what it means.

Rule 2. Repeat after me, a thesaurus is a tool, not a substitute for a good vocabulary.

Rule 3. If you've seen a word, but don't know exactly what it means, you should probably look it up before you use it. Several words have dual meanings that can have comical or tragic effects on whatever you're describing. This goes hand-in-hand with rule 4.

Rule 4. Do not use your thesaurus without also using your dictionary. These two books are two sides of the same coin.

Rule 5. Common language is fine. Many of my favourite designs and descriptions are simple and sweet.

Rule 6. There are only so many words for something. If you run out of synonyms, you're trying too hard.

I hope this sentence has abetted in adducing my condition. I mean helped in illustrating my point. Used correctly, a thesaurus is an excellent tool and can help add flair and polish to anything. Used incorrectly, it can wreck an otherwise great description.

If you have no idea what it is I'm on about, why not check out the creators of the best MUDs around? Iron Realms Entertainment has been running free MMORPGs for years. Join the community that was free-to-play before free-to-play was cool.