As writers, we yield our pen like a wand, the words that come out of it are our magic. We have complete power over the words. So we have to choose them wisely. We’ve all read those books where not just the story itself is captivating, but the words are dripping with deliciousness. We want to keep tasting them in our head and read them over and over again. They dance for our soul’s eyes and make music for the ears.
This is the kind of Word Ninja most of us strive to be.
A good word-related tip is to pick specific words, as I tweet my #writetips, this might strike you as familiar, but here goes again: pick the RIGHT word.
There is this quote about how being a writer means that you have homework every night for the rest of your life and that’s true. Some people read dictionaries for fun due to their love of words. Which is good, because it expands your vocabulary and that is the key. Now, five minutes of me reading a dictionary will direct my attention to shiny things considering I have the attention span of a squirrel. But I do look up fairly ‘simple’ words and look for the synonyms. (Words that are regularly used, like walk, say, think, etc.)
This brings me to another of my write tips: Always carry a notebook. In this particular (really pretty) notebook, I write words and add their synonyms. For instance:
Walk = stride, stroll, traipse, tread, strut, pace or march. Pick the right verb and it paints the picture much clearer. Being visual is also important.
Expanding your vocabulary will allow you to pick fancier and more fitting words for your story and/or characters. It also means that you can create diversity.
And speaking of diversity, it’s GOOD.
Not just different words for the same thing, but also same things in a different way. Write: ‘She sighs’ one time and then the other time: ‘A sigh escaped her soft lips’. Little things scattered around the pages like that make ALL the difference. Along with picking visual words/sentences. Does she walk past him or breeze past him? Does she look worried or does she bite her lip? Is she about to say something or are the words rolling on her tongue?
It basically comes down to this: Know your words. And in this case also keep in mind the opposite of one of my life mottos: Don’t Keep It Simple! Put your Fancy Words Hat on and make the words play a symphony instead of lip synching to Britney Spears.
He touched his purple tie as he checked out his reflection. He had black hair, with white streaks around his temples. His eyes were fern green, making them stand out, instead of the scar on his lips. He had been told that he looked like a mafia boss because of his expensive suits, his stare and the overall dark vibe around him.
He touched his purple tie as his eyes danced over his reflection. The colour of his thick, black hair was broken in its evenness by the white streaks around his temples. His eyes were fern green in colour, drawing immediate focus to that part of his face, instead of his full lips or the scar that ran through them. He had been told that he resembled a mafia boss in his expensive suits, with his piercing stare and the overall darkness that drifted around him like heavy perfume.
Metaphors and similes also help paint the words a brighter colour, but that’s for next time!
Channel your inner WORD NINJA!