Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mark Twain on the Right Word

by Jill Williamson

I love this quote. It reminds me to slow down in my edits and, as I read, really question my word choice.

Random moment: This quote also reminds me of how people often misspell lightning as lightening. Those are two very different words. They do not mean the same thing. (Look them up, if you're curious.)



Words are powerful. We can use them to build each other up or tear each other down. We can use them in our writing to tell a wide range of genres, moods, slow or fast pacing, and different themes. We can make readers laugh, cry, or cheer.

I challenge you all today to slow down and seek out the right words. Whether you are writing or communicating out loud with people, take the time to choose your words carefully.

Do you ever struggle to find the right word? If so, how do you get through this?

12 comments:

  1. Word choice is so important in writing, especially when I'm trying to communicate a character's perspective on things and how she might see and describe things differently from her friend. It makes editing painfully slow to consider each word, but it's also really worth it. I've found that writing poetry helps me with my word choice. Writing poetry allows me to focus on perfecting a very small chunk of words so when I work on my novel I can replicate that on a larger scale.

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    1. Agreed! When you have to get every character's unique and individual voice right, it's so hard to find the exact word s/he'd use.

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    2. Absolutely essential to character voice. Great point!

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  2. What a powerful quote. In editing, this is super important. I find I often delete entire sentences and rewrite them just because the wording doesn't "click". When I have trouble thinking of the right word, I usually ask critique partners/friends/family. My mom is a veritable dictionary of awesome words. :) Thanks for the quote, Mrs. Williamson!

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    1. I do that too when I edit. How fun to have a walking dictionary in the house! I want one! LOL

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  3. Words are absolutely beautiful when used the right way. It can create a passion inside you that you didn't know could exist. Thanks for this post and the quote Mrs. Jill!:) (and sometimes I just go onto merriam webster and just go through lists of synonyms of words I like. Finding long ones that sound like a piece of art themselves, or finding small meek ones that can bluntly give the point across to anyone reading.)

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    1. I love thesauruses! (Though I've got to say, "thesauruses" is a wonky looking word!)

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  4. This is so funny! I first read this quote a week or two ago and now it seems to pop up everywhere I go lol :D It's a good one.

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  5. This is one of my favorite quotes about writing. I think he says it perfectly, and why it's important we constantly stay aware of what we're writing.

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  6. Oh my goodness . . . all this time I've been spelling lightning wrong . . . XD

    Well, if I'm writing and can't remember that word I'm wanting (it's there but it jdkfajsfa I just can't remember ittttt XD ), I usually thesaurus it if I know of a different way I could rephrase it. I don't usually find the word, sadly. XD But, if I *can't* think of a word that can do it justice . . . come to think of it, I use a thesaurus for that too. Thesaurus' really are great. :D

    Thank you so much for sharing this quote! Such a powerful one – wow!!

    Blessings,
    -Koko :)

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