Thursday, February 16, 2012

Those Pesky Words

I was having a discussion with another author the other day about words. Why do we pick the ones we use when we write? What should the focus be on, the words themselves or the image they are meant to convey?

When I first started writing, I used a lot of formal language. For example from my first story, The Price of Honor: The strange color registered with his consciousness but he continued to stare blankly about, trying to process the abrupt dislocation that he had just experienced.

Right . . . because most people think or talk that way. I don't think so.

After getting advice from other authors and having readers tell me what works and what doesn't, I don't write like that anymore. I've realized, that for my writing style, smaller is better. I narrate my stories the same way I speak and leave formal language for dialogue by characters that need it. If I were to re-write that line now, it would be different and look like this: He noticed the strange color of the plants, but he stared blankly at the bush in front of him. He'd expected a city landing pad when he woke up, not this wilderness.

They mean the same thing, but my words aren't getting in the way of the image in the second line. People know the plants are a strange color and he's in a wilderness that he wasn't expecting. That's all that is needed. Instead of flexing my vocabulary muscles, I'm letting the story speak in a voice that most readers will be more familiar with and understand more easily. I think it gives my stories a readability that they were lacking in the past.


  1. I totally agree with you. I am not a writer but I do have a very real love of words, that said when I read certain stories I don't read them for the vocab I read them for the fantasy they provide. I have trouble losing myself in a story if the vocab gets in the way. It all comes down to understanding your audience. Good job on being flexible and studious of your readers.

    Now, where is the next chapter of Hypnotic? ;)

    1. Well if I don't keep them happy, they won't keep reading, right? I don't plot my stories to my readers exactly but I keep in mind how to make my stories more enjoyable for them. I can't expect to get feedback if I don't take it and apply it, right?

      As for Hypnotic, I was correcting the edits I got back on it from Renee right as I got your comment. So, it should be up later today! =D

  2. Ooooo Can you make it snappy I really want to read it but I have to go to bed early (totally abnormal for me) so I can go have a baby in the morning then I will be out of touch for a few day while I recoup in the hospital. Consider it a baby gift lol. Thanks!

    1. Well I hope I made it early enough. Chapter 16 is posted on GA. You can go copy/paste this link:

      Good luck on the baby day Casey!!!! Congrats early, that is such a special time!


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