Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Right Word by Diana Flegal


Have you ever struggled to find the right word? Recently I chose a wrong one and I am afraid it gave the person just getting to know me the wrong impression. But when I get it right, I am happy with the impression I leave.

As writers, taking the time to find the right word is important as well.

Often manuscripts are returned with notes highlighting the use of clichés. When we see them, it is indicative of a lazy writer. Yes, we get what you meant, but you did not choose the cleaverest way to say it.

I heard a sermon recently where the Pastor was relating a few of his weaknesses. He said his wife referred to his odd ways as his ‘fussyness’ but he preferred to call them his ‘picadillies’. When I looked it up I could see no particular reference to oddities as I was imaging him using it for. But I have to say I like the sound of it.

During high school days, when I was required to write a paper, I often turned to a THESAURUS. As I cleared off my bookcase in preparation for my recent move, I discovered a nearly new hard copy Thesaurus. I took it along with a few other books and placed them on a ‘giveaway’ table at the last writers conference of the season. NO ONE chose the Thesaurus. (or the VHS tapes I laid there-go figure) I later realized it was because they were in the habit as I now am- of going online to find a better word. We have no need to check the hard copy of anything much these days definition wise.

When you write your first draft, just get your story down clichés and all. But on your second draft, clean them up.

Assuming you have ‘read the sentence out loud’ already, what else do you do when you are stuck and searching for the right word? Please share.


And now, for those of you wondering what a picture of a dog has to do with this blog and it's content? Absolutely nothing. But I happen to keep company with this pug while residing up north, and I have read that photos of dogs, puppies and kittens improve SEO. We will see. 


In the meantime meet Jasper. I call him my therapy dog. Although he is noncommittal, all the same, he's a good one to bounce my ideas off and great company. :-) 
Ho! Ho! Ho!


 

 

6 comments:

Linda Glaz said...

What bothers me is that I've always been forgetful including words. As I get older, I notice it more often. SIGH! Sometimes I have to do a full circle to get back to the word I want. Me: You know, that thing in the backroom that you put clothes and soap in, you know to get them clean. My husband: The washer?
Yup...

Diana Flegal said...

Linda, That is so me too! That is why I hang out with word smiths. :-)

jan said...

I am addicted to my thesauruses. I have three of them. This started in 6th grade when I submitted an essay and my teacher pointed out that the word I chose from Roget didn't quite achieve the effect I was after, but congratulated me for trying and gave me the "A". RIP Mr. Hanley...

Emily Akin said...

I like the thesaurus, too. In fact, I went to one to check out what you described as "piccadillies." It's actually "peccadilloes. Reference here: http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/peccadilloes. I think the pastor needs to pick another term from the list of synonyms. "Petty offenses" would be my choice. How about you?

Diana Flegal said...

Jan, you are a word smith for sure! And Emily, you must be right. I went to the pronunciation, which led to the street references. Should of looked it up in my Thesaurus! Thank you very much.

Stacey L. Lacik said...

I would have taken the Thesaurus!! I love my reference books, and use them constantly.