As a child, I treasured the family copy of Roget’s Thesaurus. As a taxonomy of words and a compendium of knowledge, it often set me to dreaming about the various lists and sub-lists of related concepts. This has been helping me wrestle with query writing.

Nowadays, we have on-line thesauri, and a lot of folks rely on less ambitious Roget’s II. This revision is more dictionary-like, and less of a massive hierarchy of concepts.

But the massive hierarchy is something I find utterly amazing. See A Celebration of Roget’s Taxonomy for more about this notion of a unifying tree of everything.

Bartelby hosts the 1922 edition. It’s not one of the Lester Berry editions I grew up with, but it’s close enough. See the Roget’s International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Start with the top-level categories and browse around.

I’m using this to wrestle with one sentence that occurs in many versions of my pitches.

The truths they learn can either save their kingdom or destroy it.

This is the literal truth — it’s what The Forge is about.


It feels hackneyed. Isn’t every #EpicFantasy book or series about saving a kingdom or destroying it? (Perhaps it's an empire or the whole world. Same concept.) Maybe the kingdom is evil and needs destroying. Or maybe it’s good and needs saving. You get four story lines out of this phrase alone, and the possibility for many twisty cliff-hanger endings.

The Mage and the Red Knight are about Power and Justice. These are from two of the top-level classes of Roget: Intellect and Volition. This was the point all along, but I’m now trying to find a less hackneyed way of describing the Mage’s journey and the Red Knight’s tutelage.

I keep winding up in section 907. I’m not sure why all paths lead me here, but I need to spend some more time and coffee on the question of power without justice.