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Sep 8, 2012

Finding the Best Word for the Job

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FINDING THE BEST WORD FOR THE JOB

by Rayne Hall

Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.

A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific  words you can bring your story alive: 
A lady with a poodle”
A tart with a mongrel”
A gothgirl with a puppy”
A redhead with a Rottweiler”

 The man looked like a sports champion” is bland.  Show us what kind of man and what kind of sports, and the sentence becomes interesting:
The gentleman looked like a fencing champion.”
The thug looked like a boxing champion.”
The salesman looked like a sumo champion.”

Instead of the dull description with generic words “This garden is full of flowers of all kinds”  show the kind of flowers to paint a picture:
This garden is full of roses, honeysuckles, and hollyhocks” - The reader sees a cottage garden.
This garden is full of crocuses, daffodils and tulips.” - The reader sees a garden in spring.
The garden is full of daisies, dandelions and thistles.” - The reader sees a garden overgrown with weeds.

Vague: "Woman holding a boat"  Specific: "Sea Witch tormenting the galleon"
Before tackling your own manuscript, you may want to practice on these sentences. Use your imagination to replace the underlined generic words with specific ones.

I went further down the road until I came to a building half hidden by trees.
She put on her new dress and shoes and applied make-up.
For dinner, he ate meat with vegetables.

Post your versions as comments. I look forward to reading them.


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BIO

Rayne Hall is professional writer and editor. She has had over 30 books published under several pen names, in several genres(mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction), in several languages (mostly English, German, Polish and Chinese), by several publishers, under several pen names. For a list of currently published fiction under the Rayne Hall pen name, go to http://www.amazon.com/Rayne-Hall/e/B006BSJ5BK

Her recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Writing Fight Scenes (for authors), Writing Scary Scenes (for authors), Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories) and more.

She is the editor of the Ten Tales series of themed multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, and others.

She teaches online workshops for intermediate, advanced and professional level writers who are serious about improving their writing craft skills. Caution: these classes are not suitable for beginners or the faint-of-heart! For a list of her currently scheduled workshops, see https://sites.google.com/site/writingworkshopswithraynehall/

1 comment:

Jai Joshi said...

I totally agree. Finding the right verbs and nouns for a sentence is crucial for a good storytelling technique because it gives flavour and texture. The reader can really get to grips with the scene and the characters.

Jai