Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Inspiration - Mark Twain

As Mark Twain once wrote, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug."

When I read this, I thought how true but I learned one thing here. Since I'm a draft writer I move through a draft in a fairly fast move. When I'm trying to get the bones of the story down I sort of speed write. When I began I used to spend time searching for the right word and often stopped the flow of the story during this search. I used the Thesarus, dictionaries and an etymology book but I lost the flow of the story and had to set it aside. I really believe finding the right word is essential to making a story sing. These days when I come to a place where I can't find the right word I leave a blank space or put the first one that comes to mind with a little note saying find a better word in the body of the story. This note may remain through several drafts until I get to the point of setting through the final draft where I check each scene, each line for the meaning I want.

How do you know when it's the right word? For me it's one of those "Oh, yes" moments and sometimes I voice my opinion aloud. This is fine when I'm alone in the house, but when there are people around, someone always asks what I'm yelling about. "Words," I say. I'm not sure those who don't write understand the idea of the right word at the right time.

I do. How about you? Do you spend time finding the right word to describe what you mean without producing a whole paragraph to find the lightning rather than the lightning bug.

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