This whole issue is something that really interests me; it has for a long time.
Even though we miss intonations, voice-inflections and expressions, through writing we have a real advantage: that of being able to choose our words at leisure beforehand
I share Ennui's admiration of authors who've been able to maximize this. Carefully used, words have the potential to paint just about any picture. What's more, is that since words are internally interpreted by the reader, it's almost as if it's a "custom picture" painted just for you! Sometimes; however, this isn't such a good thing (depending on a host of factors).
It's often time to use an esoteric word; I get a real kick out of some of the more obscure used in the 13th - 15th century, back when communicating through the written media was so much more highly-relied upon since Married with Children
and Fox News
hadn't graced humanity with their services just yet. But when I DO get a chance to use a more accurate term that's perhaps not very often heard, its nice. Yep, I get looks and inevitably there's someone who instantly thinks I'm trying to 'make an impression' or otherwise aggrandize myself, but it's all good.
We all have our own little neurosis.