Writing without thinking
Most people have had to paraphrase. It is something that villainous teachers demand of their reluctant students. The advice runs along the tracks of, ‘Read and inwardly digest, then rewrite in your own words.’
Just as a calculator is not helpful to those who have not grasped the basic principles of arithmetic, so can a thesaurus lead the unwary astray.
‘It was a dark and stormy night and the Captain said to his mate, “Tell us a story.”.’
‘It was an obscure and passionate dark and the Boss revealed to his partner, “Voice us a floor.”.’
Top marks for effort, but many fewer for comprehension. It could be worse. if the paraphraser decided to try more ambitious vocabulary, excited by the words but not having a clear understanding of nouns, verbs and adjectives.
‘It existed a dim and hot-blooded brunette and the Torment displayed to his accompany, “Caution to us an item.”.’
In an effort to make our writing more interesting, less formulaic, less prone to cliché, we search for different ways to say ‘said’. So our characters gasp, sigh, shout, scream, whisper, implore, question, cry instead of simply 'saying'.
Our characters never walk – they sway, sashay, march, stagger, stumble, totter, trip, race, hurry, and never do they start an engine – it is powered up, and so is a computer.