Which Word Should I Choose?
By Britney Pieta
Some of you may think it’s the lack of words (writers block) that makes it hard to write, but I believe it’s the exact opposite. There are so many words to choose from and so many ways to present your writing, so how do you decide which ones to use?
My Journalism teacher—Cathy Stablein, from College of DuPage described it as being like a surgeon. You have to choose your words with precision and accuracy.
You might want to ask yourself:
- Is this given word’s meaning I have selected the most exact/closest word I can find for this particular sentence that I have imagined in my head? (Ex. weeping vs. sobbing)
1. Samantha sat in her car weeping so hard she couldn’t breathe.
2. Samantha sat in her car sobbing so hard she couldn’t breathe.
Which do you think is better?
- Am I adding so many difficult vocabulary words that my reader is lost or confused? (Ex.“quixotic” which could be changed to the word idealistic or impractical.)
- Are the words I have chosen staying true to the character’s personalities in my story? (Ex. an atheist who others call himself “righteous,” but isn’t in any religion and abhors that word.)
- Are the words I have chosen going to be interpreted differently depending on the audience who reads it? (Ex. a young adult audience vs. elderly audience)
Remember to not be afraid of rewriting and rewriting over and over again because you might not portray it right the first time. As a writer the words flow through you and sometimes if you never use certain words or know the right word but can’t put your finger on it—(buried somewhere in your head) it is helpful to consult a dictionary or thesaurus.