Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Word Power

What is the main objective for writers to achieve? What is their main goal they strive for everyday?
Is it to procrastinate away as much time as they can manage? Is it spending all their time marketing and answering emails? No. It shouldn't be.

Although these two things are issues many writers can identify with, they won't achieve their goal if this is how they spend all their time.

The main question every writer should have at the forefront of their mind is this: 'How can I affect my readers in the most powerful way?'

And the answer is: 'Through choosing the most accurate words to describe what I'm saying.'

We all know the power of words in everyday life. They make the difference between life and death. Picture a hospital intensive care unit with two doctors discussing the correct use of drugs for their patient. If one doctor makes an error in their prescription and the other doctor doesn't pick up on it then their patient may die, all because incorrect words were spoken or written.

Words make powerful contracts. Words make wedding vows, and that is a contract recognised in law. Two people promise to make the ultimate commitment to one another until death do them part.

Language is the subject which makes the world turn around. Without it no one could function. Communication goes beyond the subject of words as that also includes body language, but without words we would be lost for the majority of time. Sometimes quite literally as directions wouldn't exist.

But as writers we should keep this point with us at all times. Words are our playground. We can use them however we choose. Whether it's to make someone feel loved or deliberately hurt them, we can achieve both these things by the power of words.

Why don't you make it your new goal to learn a new word everyday? Just one little word every twenty four hours can soon add up to a lot.

Here are some great words I have found in the last couple of years:

Soporific                                                                                   

Benighted

Parsimonious

Avaricious

Ineffable

Jejune

Pluperfect

Smorgasbord

Querulous

Adroit

3 comments:

  1. I love words and word play. Your essay provokes thoughts about words and writing.

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  2. We may love words but our readers don’t always. My wife is visiting her family in the States this week and her daughter was talking about reading my first novel and how she struggled with the language. Several times, she said, she got lost. I have to say I was shocked. Yes there are a couple of big words in it but not enough to put anyone off. And even where I do use an unusual one, e.g. jactitating bosom, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what I’m talking about. I’m wary these days about including more than the odd fun word because, and if you’ve ever attempted to read Ulysses you’ll know what I mean, it does slow the reader down or they just shrug when they see the word, guess what it means and pass on. So why bother? It can smack of showing off. It all depends on your audience. There wasn’t a single word in your wee list that fazed me and yet there will be a great number of Brits (and Australians I have no doubt) who won’t know the word ‘faze’ as it has American origins but I’ve always liked it.

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  3. Moon Child:

    Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you found my blog thought provoking.


    Jim:

    Thanks for bringing up those important points. I should have stressed that it's important not to go overboard in using impressive words, and it's crucial to make sure you only use them in the right context. It does indeed depend upon your audience.

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