Saturday, April 18, 2009


by G.Parker

In past posts it has been mentioned that saying things a certain way, or using grammar in wordage is important in your writing. I'd like to explore that a little today.

Since I am a avid reader as well as writer, I tend to pick up words that others do not. Part of this is a large vocabulary. My husband will be reading an article and say, "What the heck does that mean?" and I'll be able to tell him more often than not. My children are much the same way, depending on the genre. Someone who reads a lot of Victorian era romances will understand those type of words and perhaps use them more than someone who does not. However -- this does not mean that I use them a lot in my speech. Half the time I'm searching for the word I want to say instead of being able to enlighten someone with it.

This idea of using the words we know holds true for someone that works in a particular field. Lawyers tend to be more technical in nature and 'wordy' in description, simply because that is the way the job works. There are those who know how to use words in such a way as to bring humor much easier than some of us. I can think of funny things sometimes, but not as often as Cindy, one of our bloggers can. It seems as if her life is one humorous moment after another -- but that isn't always so. Sometimes you can just put the humorous spin on it and it becomes that.

Writing is not just about getting words down on paper. Sometimes it takes a special word, or combination of words to get a point across, and not only that, make it memorable or striking. So often we get caught up in the plot of the movie and our words loose their effectiveness. We don't want to be perceived as juvenile in our language -- but we don't want our readers to think we are too smart for them either.

There used to be a site that you could go to and have your blog evaluated as to what level of readers it would appeal/equate to. I did it once for my personal blog and I think it said it was high school level -- could have been jr high. Sigh. And I like to think I'm intelligent. Then again, I get frustrated when I do a check on my manuscript and it tells me the average length of word is 4 letters. That tells me that I tend to write simply in my stories...or perhaps I use a lot of connecting words that are short. Who knows.

What kind of vocabulary do you use in your writing?


LexiconLuvr said...

I tend to be very wordy. I love words; the weight, feel, and texture of them. I like combining them in different ways and seeing what happens when someone else reads it. However, I can get too wordy.
This is a great post. I'm so happy to hear that people ask you what words mean too. =]

Evelyn Curtis said...

I'm new to the blog. My sister found it and passed it along to me. I am just starting out in my writing "career," and I have a lot to learn. I have to say that in many of my English classes, the professors have commented on how easy it is to be wordy. I do the same. Often I will arrange a sentence, in what I thought was a clever wording, only to find out that it was just too complex. I don't think you should worry about being too simple in your writing. I have begun to realize that the more simple, the better... to a point. :) I hope that I am not out of line commenting since I am so new to the blog.

Lastly, I do have a request. I personally have trouble with developing characters. I have excellent ideas, but I just need more practice at developing each character. Is there a technique or exercise that I can apply that will help me in this?
Thanks for the article.