By: Marilyn L. Davis
Words: The Writer’s Resource for this Challenge
I’m always amazed how each writer takes the exact words and creates an entirely different story. Some educate, others entertain, and a few enchant.
Which category is most authentic for you?
How will you respond to the challenge?
Too Few – Too Many – Just Right
I recently wrote about not understanding some directions for my purchase. Just as I didn’t understand those directions, I might not understand the writer’s intention if there are too few words or the wrong words. So, writers have to use correct, clear, and concise terms to convey their intent. However, there are some writers who over-explain. Why do we tend to do that?
- Fear of being misunderstood
- We’re afraid we’ll appear ignorant about our topic.
- Plain English seems too hard to write.
- Straight-forward language can read harshly.
- Fear of boring words
Simple, Sound Advice about the Right Words
What do great writers have to say about words? These may help inspire you for the challenge. Click To Tweet
I’m sure I’ll enjoy your submission, but just in case you need some inspiration, here’s what many writers think about words.
“Words could betray you if you chose the wrong ones or mean less if you used too many. Jokes could be grandly miscalculated, or stories deemed boring, and I’d learned early on that my sense of humor and ideas about what sorts of things were fascinating didn’t exactly overlap with my friends.” Robyn Schneider
“I like to use simple words, but in a complicated way.” Carol Ann Duffy
“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words, and brief sentences…Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them―then the rest will be valuable…” Mark Twain
“Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are, the more necessary it is to be plain.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Let grammar, punctuation, and spelling into your life! Even the most energetic and wonderful mess has to be turned into sentences.” Terry Pratchett
Strong Opinions about Words
“Political writing in our time consists almost entirely of prefabricated phrases bolted together like the pieces of a child’s Meccano set…To write in a plain, vigorous language, one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly, one cannot be politically orthodox.” George Orwell
“…Sure, there are trashy books that do really well, but that’s because there are trashy facets of humanity. What people value in their books—and thus what they count as literature—really tells you more about them than it does about the book.” Brent Weeks
“Words! What power they hold. Once they have rooted in your psyche, it is difficult to escape them. Words can shape the future of a child and destroy the existence of an adult. Words are powerful. Be careful how you use them because once you have pronounced them, you cannot remove the scar they leave behind.” Vashti Quiroz-Vega
“Nouns and verbs are the guts of the language. Beware of covering up with adjectives and adverbs.” A.B. Guthrie Jr.
The Magic of Words
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine.” Emily Dickinson
“A book is an arrangement of twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten numerals, and about eight punctuation marks, and people can cast their eyes over these and envision the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the Battle of Waterloo.” Kurt Vonnegut
“You string some letters together, and you make a word. You string some words together, and you make a sentence, then a paragraph, then a chapter. Words have power.” Chloe Neill
“Words have weight.” Stephen King
The Working Writer Thinks…
“To write as if your life depended on it; to write across the chalkboard, putting up there in public the words you have dredged; sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence– words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist.” Adrienne Rich
“I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it, I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time.” Rabih Alameddine
“Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves – that’s the truth…Then we learn our trade, well or less well, and we tell our two or three stories – each time in a new disguise – maybe ten times, maybe a hundred, as long as people will listen.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
“There’s a difference between writing for a living and writing for life. If you write for a living, you make enormous compromises…If you write for life, you’ll work hard; you’ll do what’s honest, not what pays” Toni Morrison
Best Advice for All of Us
“Surely it is an odd way to spend your life – sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper in order to give birth to what does not exist, except in your head. Why on earth would anyone want to do such a thing? The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is: because you have to because you have no choice.” Paul Auster
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.” Richard Rhodes
That’s a lot of advice, experience, and knowledge about words. Now, for this challenge, entertain me, educate me and enchant me with words.
Why Should You Submit a Guest Post?
- You’ll gain a different audience with a guest post of poetry, prose, or problem-solving for the writer and blogger.
- Writing for another site increases your visibility.
- Backlinks in your bio feature your blog, books, and other writing, helping you in various ways.
- A link in your bio gives you: potential new followers, interest and possible new sales for your book(s) and likes, thumbs-up, or other approval on your social media sites