Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Recently I watched a movie with a simple storyline. It was touching, tender, evoked tears, and spoke volumes. Why? What made it so special? The writers had chosen the right words and spelled them out in all the right places.

How many times have you read a good book and said to yourself, “Well, that was a simple story. I could write that?” What made it look simple were the well balanced, succinct word choices.

Every good story has acquired and been fitted with the right words. We need to do the same when we sit down and write. A writer’s goal is to create a seamless story. Simple? Not always.

To make sure the rhyme, rhythm and cadence ring clear read your passages out loud. Do they flow off your tongue or knot your tongue into a pretzel? Do they say what needs to be said with the heart and soul necessary? Do your sentences need a word extracted here and there? Or do you need to implant a few choice words to convey your full meaning?

Do you struggle to produce the right word? Sometimes that elusive word just won’t surface.

I’ve used all of the following with success:
* Off the top of your head, rattle off a list of possible words choices. Say them out loud to help savor and sample each one.
* Use a dictionary or thesaurus as a helpful aid.
* Sometimes selecting a short word over a long one, or vice versa, will provide the results needed.
* Call a friend or email your loop. That perfect word may fall from their tongue or fingertips.

When the right words jump from our fingertips onto the page you’ll know it. The flow sings with perfect pitch and clarity in your ears. The vivid imagery bursts into full color in your mind. Your heart thumps a little faster, more proof you’ve hit the mark.

What do you do when you’re stuck and searching for the right word?

No comments: