Do you know that early English poets were called shapers? People who used “the stuff of language to create stories the way that God, the Great Shaper, formed heaven and earth.” (p.68, writing tools) Isn’t that neat? To think of yourself as a shaper, one who can build life into what we write.
Think on that a spell. What would you need to be that sort of writer? Think of how God created the word. He chose the order carefully, creating the structure before creating the life that fills it.
He didn’t just say “let there be animals”, What he said was “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.”
Do you see how he chose his words wisely? Describing what he wanted, where it was to come from, and giving us an image to hold in our minds’ eye. As writers we need to do the same. Just as we need to let our key words stand on their own, we need make sure we aren’t limiting our words to what is easy or “dumbed down” for our readers.
As writers we tend to have a rich vocabulary, so we aught to use it. Not to fill every space with a fancy word, because you don’t need big words to do the job. You just need the RIGHT one for the space it occupies.
How to Choose the Right Word?
There are several ways to choose what word you need. Perhaps these methods will help you to be choosing words wisely.
- Use a thesaurus to remind you of options. A good thesaurus is worth it’s weight in gold.
- Keep word and phrase choice that fits the context. Try not to be overly repetitive, search for words or phrases in your transcript that you use too often and switch them up.
- Listen for what sounds right. Read your words over, let them roll through your mind.
- The precise word isn’t necessarily the right word. Sometimes close it just what you need to fit the context and tone.
- The most powerful words tend to be the shortest and most basic in the English language. Winston Churchill said: “Broadly speaking, the short words are best, and the old words best of all.” Frankly though, if the best word you can use to communicate your tone and point is a longer one, use it, and use it confidently.
- Keep a list of descriptive words. Words that have caught your fancy, delight your mind, or just intrigues.
- Seek out words that evoke an emotional response, they may be simple or complex. They need to fit the mood and situation.
- Be specific where needed. Perhaps you need to say “Mountain Dew” instead of pop, or Malinois rather than dog.
Be the writer you want to be. Search out and gather words to yourself. Expand your pool of usable words. Learn the history behind the words that interest you. Incorporate them into your language and your writing. Choosing words wisely will further your abilities.
Be a writer.
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