Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tips - Words Glorious Words
A bit of a take off on a sonb but words are the food of the writer. I'm re-reading Techniques of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain and he devotes an entire chapter on words, choosing the right words, making the words vivid. This is something as a writer you should pay attention to. Without words there can be no story. Whether printed on paper, uploaded into an ereader, or spoken by a story teller, words are what creates the world and what the reader experiences. The words invite the reader to share the world.
How are these words used? To create characters, to show the setting and to advance the plot. Sometimes finding the right word is hard. When first starting a story, the words seem to flow rapidly or slowly depending in the writer's habits of writing. Often the first words put on the paper aren't the right words. They're almost right. My take on this is not to fret over every word but to get the ideas on paper. Finding the right word, the vivid word, the invitation word is better left to the revision phase.
Once I have the rough draft down and know where the story is going, I begin to look at particular areas. Dialogue. By now I know my characters since I have lived with them for a time. Dialogue is often written over three or four times. In the description areas of the story, choosing the words can bring the setting, the character to life. Becoming specific instead of generic is a good ited. What's the difference in the reader's mind between he drove a battered crate of undetermined origin or he drove the sleek silver power car destined to show his importance. Makes the hero a different person in each case.
Too many words can bog the reader down. I've read descriptions of a setting that detail every nook and cranny of a room. What I'm not sure of is what the writer wants me to notice. A few details allows the readerto fill in the blanks. This gives the reader a chance to engage their imaginations and enter the story as a silent participant.
So choose your words with care. Revise to find the exact right one. Revise to find the vivid one. Revise to bring the reader into the story.