Finding the right word - your first tool shouldn't be the thesaurus. To keep your voice authentic, you have to choose words that are organic to you and natural to the context in which they are used. You don't want a word that draws attention to itself. One way of finding the right word is clustering.
Write the word that needs replaced in the center of a blank sheet of paper. Draw a short, straight line out from the word, and quickly jot down the next word that pops into your mind. Do the same with that word. Do this for at least sever to eight words, then sit back and look at what you have. Oftentimes, the word you need emerges.So I gave it a try with a heavily cliche'd sentence: 'She batted her eyelashes at him." The offensive word: batted.
Batted - fluttered - flitted - fanned - bowed - dipped - ducked - deepened - flared
Kind a fun seeing where each word would take me next. Obviously, not all of them would work. But it's a start.
I think I'd pick "She fanned her eyes lashes at him."
What word(s) would you add to this cluster?