“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
-- Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
Words have meaning.
That seems straightforward and obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many writers put the wrong word down on a page. What am I talking about? Well, here's a little quiz— What is the root word that applies to this list:
Answer: It's "anger."
What I've just pointed out is that anger comes in many forms. There are also many degrees of anger. In it's mildest form, anger amounts to annoyance or pique (indignation). In the extreme, anger is livid rage that may be extremely violent.
If you haven't grasped the idea yet, let me state it this way: using the precise word, the correct word for what is actually happening or going on, insures that the reader immediately understands just how emotional your character actually is.
Of course, "angry" is just one of many words that writers tend to slap on a page when drafting. In revision, the wise writer will ask "how __angry, sad, etc.__ was he?" Which often means going to a dictionary and looking up the exact meaning of the word to test if it's the right choice. In other cases, it might mean looking through a thesaurus until you hit on the correct word.
As to other words like "angry?" Here are a few—
You might want to add angry and the words above to your Master Revision Check List Cheat Sheet, do a global search through your work, and see if you have any in your manuscript. If you find one, evaluate it by asking: does this correctly and accurately convey the meaning or emotion or action taking place?
After all, a reader only has the words on a page to go by to form images in their mind. Isn't it time you use the most precise one, the most vivid nouns and verbs in your storytelling?*** THIS BLOG IS UPDATED THE FIRST OF EACH MONTH
DARE TO BE A GREAT WRITER -- January 2015 will start a year-long series on "Revision Is A Process." Each month I'll post the self-editing steps to revising fiction that will cut down on the frustration of revising and help insure bloopers, glitches, typos, etc. are caught before sending a work to readers, critique partners, or editors. For those who aim to self-publish, self-editing is the first step in generating a worthy book.
To follow this blog -- Connect with Catherine at her home website HERE or follow by e-mail using the box at the upper right on this blog page.
***Christmas Gift Idea for yourself or a fellow writer:
"Terrific Titles--an all-inclusive guide to creating story titles"
*** Christmas Gift Ideas for Readers (all available at Amazon.com and other book outlets):
ADRADA TO ZOOL an anthology of short stories
JEWELS OF THE SKY, a futuristic (sci-fi) adventure
KARMA AND MAYHEM, a paranormal fantasy romance
# # #