1. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    How important is word selection to you?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by zilly, Sep 13, 2010.

    The most interesting part of reading for me is to see how an author chose to use words and phrases to describe something. This is one of the reasons that I like Shakespeare so much. There are so many words that he uses in unconventional ways.

    When writing, usually, after I have fished a section of my work and am satisfied with it, I read it over numerous times changing around the words and phrases -- that's what makes it interesting for me.

    Basically, I want to see if other people think this is as important as I do. Because, the story isn't the most interesting of stories -- it wasn't intended to be -- but, in my opinion, it's very interesting because of the way it's written. However, I'm very biased considering that I enjoy word selection so much and because I wrote it =p

    So how important is word selection to you? To me it's the most important part. I'm far less concerned with character development and such and even the story is less important to me than the words used to tell it. What do you think?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on which character I am writing, I find what comes naturally works better for my first person narrators however in dialogue it is vital to me. Within my book I have a Mrs Malaprop and an Abbot who uses grandiose words. The first is my Abbot and the second my Mrs Malaprop, for both of these characters I am like yourself careful in my choice of words when editing. I do like the page to look right with flow and letter shape as well. Singeing is a word I want to use but I am still conflicted about.

     
  3. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Words are very important to me. They are the meaning between "getting it" and "not getting it". But in the same way, I feel that story and characters are just as important. Any writer could get his readers attention by creating a capital story, while using elementary words. But using more refined words, this might pose more of a problem for people who don't have a dictionary on hand or who don't possess a more extensive vocabulary than the writer.

    Really, it's all about entertainment to the readers. Some might appreciate reading a descriptively flowing story. But others might appreciate a more "cut-to-the-chase" friendly story. But then again - you're the writer, right? Regardless of your usage of words, you will get readers.
     
  4. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    Word choice plays a key role, no question, though I like to think that the viewpoint character I'm writing in a given chapter chooses the words for me. I feel that if I'm struggling to find the right words, then I'm not connecting with that character at that time.
     
  5. John Cleeves
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    John Cleeves Member

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    Word choices, word sequences, word placement, all paramount. I strive for concision, and my edits reflect this. The say I say "is a man who" is the day I die :p

    That said, what good is the packaging if there's nothing inside?
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Choice of words, characters, and story all have a part to play.

    For me the most important thing is
    Characters and story --- nothing beats captivating story with good well rounded interesting characters.
    Choosing the right words and prose are important but,
    quote (isn't the most interesting of stories--- it wasn't intended to be) unquote
    How do you expect a story that wasn't intended to be 'the most interesting' to hold the interest of your reader? :confused:
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry if I seem blunt, but I don't think I could read half a page written in this language.
     
  8. John Cleeves
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    John Cleeves Member

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    Elgaisma, your comma usage needs a little brush up. Off topic, but I thought I'd help you out since the opportunity present itself.

    A name or title in direct address is parenthetic.


    'Angus, are you sure you yearn to pardon the protagonist who attempted to cause your decease?'

    'She has, Your Majesty. We are very foetidness to have her boding with us once again.' ​

    Also, I totally agree that singeing is an ugly word, which I also avoid!

    Horus, I don't think it's fair to judge such a small example of her work. I think the dialogue suits the characters well.
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Words is important, but I think in most litteratur you gut reaction and the first word that comes to mind is the one you want. We are all induviduals, so this method is no threat to the unique style of you work anyway.

    You will develop a rich language that come naturally to you from reading and writing much, not by grabbing after a dictionary.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't have to personally I love reading malaprop characters so I have one in my book. I don't do more than a few lines at once and have only ever once put Bessie and the Abbot together in a room, they could never have a discussion and me pull it off at least not yet. The Abbot isn't a malaprop he is verbose. I think malaprops and verbose characters are a bit marmite though you either love or hate them not much inbetween. I think either the humour is got or not, if someone is inbetween then they have been written badly.

    The general flow is humour and seems to work well in context but it requires a lot of thought about which words to include. The asides from the main character help he acts as their straight man.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like singeing lol I use it ugly contexts:) it kind of fits with my situations but people keep reading singing which doesn't work. I may use scorching instead but it is not the right word.

    Bessie doesn't have commas in her dialogue but the Abbot was wrong thanks:)
     
  12. John Cleeves
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    John Cleeves Member

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    Oh, you're breaking the rule on purpose? Hope it works out!
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    usually does I just write if it works I leave it:) if it doesn't there is always the delete key lol but I am not scared to delete over 40,000 words and start again.

    Bessie speaks differently in front of authority figures she kind of runs on using all the wrong words she views as 'posh' if she is not nervous she speaks normally
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as it should be to all serious writers and is to the best, extremely important!

    no explanation/rationale should be necessary...
     
  15. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    How important is word selection to me? When it comes to words, I'm reminded of the old saying "The more tools in your tool box, the better equipped you are". In this case, the more words in your vocabulary, the better you are able to deal with writing a piece that accurately and fully describes the story you want to tell.

    In that regard, I'd have to say that word selection is very important to me.

    On that note, I'll leave you with an old joke of mine.

    "Where I come from, a diphthong is what lad wears to cover up his dangling participle." :)

    If you were able to get that joke, you are miles ahead of most folks :)
     
  16. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope word selection comes pretty naturally as I write, so I don't really need to think too hard about it later - the words that come to me at the time should be the words of my characters, so when I'm going through and editing, I try not to chance the words I chose much... mostly I just rearrange sentences around them if I don't like the way they sit. :p I always feel slightly sad when I have to delete words, no matter how unimportant they were to the novel as a whole, I like each line for characterisation or setting reasons.
     

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