Good day to you, my fellow wandering writers!
Like most writers and readers, I am a huge fan of words. I love that words have many ways to be said, read and used. English is filled with words that have multiple meanings too. As writers, it’s up to us to help the reader become immersed in the world we have created. To do so, tone, meaning and interpretation of the words have to be at the forefront of the writing. This article will hopefully help show you how to add some words with flare to your work.
Here’s an example:
“What is it?” he asked. “Does it really matter?” she asked. “I don’t like it. Can you take it back?” he asked.
Three times the word asked is used. It’s not wrong because these are all sentences that end with a question mark, so yes, everyone asked. But, it sounds repetitive right? So why not spice it up and bring in some tones or expressions to make it a deeper conversation?
“What is it?” he whispered. “Does it really matter?” she hissed. “I don’t like it. Can you take it back?” he begged.
Now, there’s much more going on without having to add in additional action with each sentence. That leaves it up to the reader to decide facial expressions and what is happening with body language as the two characters are talking about the object in question. Using words as tools, writing can become better with each revision. I want my readers to hear the sounds and dialogue, and feel the feelings the characters are experiencing. The readers should see the sights and even smell the smells when they read my books. If I do it right, they become a character in their own way, and join the story.
Here’s another example.
Sarah ran across the grass. She was scared. The bear was so fast, it was getting closer.
It works right? True, she’s being chased by a bear and afraid of it. Simple to understand. But, why does it feel so bland? We, as the reader, want to know more. What does this fear feel like to Sarah? How scary is this bear?
Sarah’s feet pounded against the damp grass. The back of her neck prickled with cold sweat as her heart hammered against her ribs. She needed to run faster. The steady thump of the bear’s heavy paws grew louder. She could smell its musty fur. The sound of it sucking in deep ragged breaths behind her made a scream fly from her lips.
Better right? I would still work this moment further to find the best description for the actions of both Sarah and the bear. I’d also play with different versions of the moment and ease up on wordiness—because even sometimes too many words are too much. But, this has some flare. The reader is pulled into the scene and running with Sarah.
The biggest thing to keep an eye on, is wordiness. Being a writer is a balancing act to a certain degree. Too much description gets exhausting and not enough can make it hard to trigger the imagination for the reader. The trick is to find the spot that sounds right when read. Sometimes I’ll read things aloud to hear it, especially with dialogue.
Now that I’ve made it seem like you have to write a certain way, let’s bring it back around and allow me to make this point… Words are tools. You are the craftsperson of the story. I want you to find your own voice, decide for yourself how you want the story to go and write it. I’m a ‘wordy’ writer. I over-describe at times. But it’s my own voice and I love it. That is so important. Love your voice and write something for you to love. The readers will come in time, but only if you aren’t afraid to love your work first.
I hope these examples help you as you write epic works filled with beautiful words.
Write without fear and keep them boots wandering. Until next time