Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Linguistic Competence #MFRWauthor

I've been reading John Gardner's  On Becoming A Novelist and am coming to the end of his great advice. What I read today is about linguistic competency. "Have faith" is the advice he gives. For me, the words come out in a rush during the first draft. Then I go back and look at the words. What I usually find is a lot of repetition. The same word appears line after line and paragraph after paragraph. The scene becomes boring. Not that there isn't action or emotion but because the same words are used time and time again. Doubt sets in. Will this story of these two interesting people ever come to life. Finding the right words will help. "Have faith."

As I sit about revising I find I've fallen into several patterns in the attempt to get the story down. That's when faith comes in. How many times did I use that particular word. Is there a better word. Why are there so many its. That one is easy to change by finding when the specific works best. Some words can remain even though they are repeats. Repeated words often bring a strange understanding of what is happening in the scene.

Do I sit with a dictionary or the Thesarus? Sometimes I do. Other times a good substitute word leaps into my thoughts and the one that appears is absolutely right. The dictionary comes in handy when the spelling is wrong on a word. So what I've learned is to have faith and use the tools when absolutely necessary. Linguistic competency comes from reading and writing. So have faith.

1 comment:

Melissa Keir said...

I struggle with reusing the same words a lot. I have to go back and make sure that I'm not doing that during edits. Too many times when you use the same words, it leads the reader to fall out of the story.