Monday, June 15, 2015

Word Choice

When writing in any format or genre your choice of words is important.  This is likely quite obvious to most, but perhaps not to everyone.  In my experience, when editing or even writing the first draft of a poem, I choose words carefully.  Some of the things I consider are meaning, flow, sound, rhyme, rhythm, and sometimes even spelling.  

Each choice depends on what effect or meaning, images or thoughts are behind the work I’m creating.  For instance, in my poem “Smoke” I took quite a long time to decide the words to describe the smoke patterns and qualities.  

“Clinging to the air, fluctuating,
Gradient translucence shifts in silent grace.
Amorphous fog, ethereal silk
Drifts away then subtly coils and spins.”

The word ‘amorphous’ was selected because of its meaning, as well as its sound.  Likewise, the word ‘ethereal’ has a sort of fantasy quality to it (at least to me) and it was fitting for the images I was describing.  I chose silk because its movement as a fabric was mimicked by the movement of the smoke.

There are times when my vocabulary needs a boost while writing.  At these times I turn to a dictionary or thesaurus for ideas.  Keep in mind that too much reliance on these tools can be obvious in your writing.  If I get really stuck for words I like to write out a list of possible choices then insert them into my piece.  It’s like trying on clothes to see what fits and looks the best.

The most important part of word choice is that you find what works for you and for the piece you’re creating.  Having the words flow with your voice is crucial to success for your writing.  I have friends or my father read my works in progress.  They’ve always been able to tell if I had been through the thesaurus too heavily.  

Enjoy writing and playing around with words to complete your writing pieces.

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