Be Strategic: Select Words Judiciously
"My task, which I am trying to achieve is,
by the power of the written word,
to make you hear, to make you feel--
it is, before all, to make you see." -Joseph Conrad
We all want our readers to submerse themselves in our stories. We want readers to see, hear, taste, and feel along with our characters. Words are the bricks we use to build a place where a reader keeps returning.
Sebastyne Young reminds writers "A picture can tell a thousand words, but a few words change a story." Verbs move a story. We all heard about writing with strong verbs, (instead of 'she laughed,' perhaps she chortled, snickered, snorted, tittered,) or any of the other forty-two other meanings of laughter that could improve your scene. Choose the verb that one would draw your reader into the story and help describe your character?
Writers must read. Current fiction gives the writer insight into today's style. Some successful writers have a formulaic method. While other prolific writers never repeat the place, time, and characters in future books. Go read.
Pawan Mishra advises writers to"tell a story with simpler words.” Writers no longer are paid by the word. Think about your audience. Examine the structure and vocabulary of the books you read. Is your writing clean?
Get the words down on paper. Read your work aloud. Check for the following issues:
- repeated words - look for synonyms or an alternate group of words
- clichés - create your own description
- connotation - consider the emotional and underlying meaning of the word and how it fits with the story
- specific words- chose words that paint a picture for the reader
- simplicity - consider if you want your audience to be checking a dictionary
- musicality - some this is about pacing and sound, you must read each paragraph aloud to check if you used the correct word. Some software allows you to play back what you wrote.
Writing demands, like all art forms, practice.
"A writer takes an idea
uses exact words and crafts a story."
Pat W Coffey
For more information click on the following websites:
"Five Writing Habits to Avoid
"Ten Rules for Writing Fiction"
"Making the Right Word Choice Makes Your Writing Better"