Writing Tips Round Up: Word nerd4 min read
A weekly round up of writing advice and inspiration
“Finding the perfect word is as likely as finding a downy-soft unicorn with a pearlescent horn riding a skateboard made from the bones of your many enemies. Get shut of this notion. The perfect is the enemy of the good. For every sentence and every story you have a plethora of right words. Find a good word. Seek a strong word. But the hunt for a perfect word will drive you into a wide-eyed froth.”
Over at Terrible Minds, Chuck Wendig unleashes an avalanche of advice on word choice, including warning against the pursuit of the “perfect word” and making friends rather than foes of your adverbs.
“How do you know which words to trust? Here’s a good test: take a suspicious word out of your writing and see if you lose any meaning or impact. No? Then cast away the loafer and don’t look back.”
Re: Fiction exhibits the five killer weak-words that will undermine your writing: how to avoid them, and how to pick a worthier word.
“Even if you “don’t get it”, the poetic format forces brevity and economy. Poets must use the best word for the job for every word of the poem. They are masters of vocabulary. I was reluctant to read poetry for a long time until I took a class that challenged me to unfold the words in the poem one at a time and work at them like a puzzle. This helped me really appreciate the art of poetry and I learned a whole load of new words.”
On the lookout for some worthy words? LitReactor has plenty of suggestions for enriching your vocabulary, from news go poetry to the reliable old thesaurus.
“The word “gratitude” now belongs to Ross Gay, we can’t hear the word and not think of Ross the way we can’t hear “purple” and not think of Prince. This got me thinking about other writers with signature words, and so I asked Twitter—who else has them?”
When you hear “handmaid”, which author do you think of? What about ‘dune’ or ‘road’? The Lit Hub takes a different approach by looking at 137 writers and the words they’re most famous for.
“If literary or highbrow is needed, use words that match that condition. But just as purple prose can be a problem, distracting readers or pulling them out of the fiction and into an awareness of the story’s foundations, so can fancy words be a distraction.”
Can’t find the perfect turn of phrase? The Editor’s Blog contends that a plain word needn’t be a poor one.
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