1. Mercissa
    Offline

    Mercissa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Secret Academy

    The word that captures the feeling or that fits the tone

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Mercissa, May 6, 2014.

    Hi everyone!
    I'm having an internal struggle right now about using a word that correctly captures the feeling of the situation/character, but it disrupts my overall tone. Which one should I use? The correct word or a synonym that slightly misses the bull's-eye for what I intend to communicate? I'm usually very precise with words, so I'm tempted to dismiss the sudden use of advanced vocabulary as a trait of my protagonist's when she's infuriated, just so that I could use the right word.

    What would you do?

    Please help!

    By the way, the story is in first person.
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    how can we answer that if you don't give us the sentence and the word choices?
     
  3. Mercissa
    Offline

    Mercissa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Secret Academy
    Oops, sorry, I typed that message out at 4am last night. Here it is:

    I knew I could be obtuse and obstinate, I knew I had many faults, but I couldn’t help it. I remembered the times that I didn’t laugh at her jokes because they weren’t funny, the times that I’d said no to hanging out because of my practices, the times that maybe I may have taken my rebuke against her girly nonsense a bit too far. And because of all those thoughts, I felt a twinge of guilt in my gut.

    The words that stick out for my readers are: obtuse and obstinate.
     
  4. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I don't know if they necessarily stand out - but maybe the character thinks more along the lines of stupid and stubborn. Is that what you mean?
     
  5. Mercissa
    Offline

    Mercissa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Secret Academy
    Yes, sort of. It's more like she's insensitive, tactless and very stubborn, which can be very annoying. But I don't want to use these words because a) it's too long and b) even though she knows it and admits to it in this paragraph, she doesn't really want to. The use of obtuse is almost figurative.
     
  6. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I usually pick words by instinct. If something doesn't feel right I'll try other words, or rework the surrounding sentences until I get the right feel. Maybe eliminate the first sentence all together? Maybe you can convey her revelation without actually naming it.
     
  7. Mercissa
    Offline

    Mercissa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Secret Academy
    Hmm... that's a good idea. I'll try it out and let you know. :)

    To be honest, I don't see anything wrong with these words either, but my friends, who are reading my story, do. My friends think that the words are too advanced for the readers' liking and they also sort of rhyme, which is why my friends find them awkward.

    Just to give you some background on the character, she has covert narcissistic tendencies. In this paragraph, she's going through one of the most emotional and vulnerable times of her life, even though she probably wouldn't admit to this publicly. But because of her narcissistic tendencies, she very quickly talks herself out of the guilt and makes herself out to be the victim. This is also one of the only times that she has felt some real emotions of betrayal and is somewhat, in a way, hurting herself by admitting to her narcissism.
     
  8. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Sounds like an interesting character!

    Accidental rhyme can sometimes work to the prose's benefit so take that advice with a grain of salt.
     
  9. Mercissa
    Offline

    Mercissa Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    The Secret Academy
    Okay, thank you! I'm still going to try tweaking the surrounding sentences and see if I can find a compromise.
     
  10. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    they don't even come close to rhyming, but you may have meant they're alliterative [start with the same letters]... and there's nothing wrong with alliteration... i'm fond of it, actually...

    if you like the way those words look and work, why let a few friends whose vocabulary may be limited keep you from using them?... they're not all that 'fancy' or uncommon, so most readers won't have any problem with them... unless this is intended for the lower half of the YA market... in which case, why not introdce readers to some new words?
     
    Mercissa and peachalulu like this.

Share This Page