We all have a few things in common here. I, like many of you, am an author. Many of you, like myself, are bibliophiles. A couple of you are only following my blog because you’re friends with my cousin and she signed you up…that’s fine. I like her too. Whether you are a writer, a reader, a talker, or all of the above, today’s topic will have impacted your life in some way. That’s right, I’m talking about amputation.
Ok, ok, I’m not really talking about amputation. That is a topic that I am not qualified in any way to speak on (though I’m sure I could come up with something horribly inaccurate to say). Today I want us to talk about the importance of Word Choice.
How did I get to amputation from word choices? I’m glad you asked! This morning my mother watched me walking down the stairs and said, “Punk (that’s ME!) I need to hem your legs.” Now, I know that she meant the legs on my palazzo pants. They are a smidge too long for me and probably could benefit from hemming. However, my automatic response was “No thank you, I’m already short enough!”
Why did I respond like that? What is it that triggered the knee jerk sass? Well, as you probably already figured out, it was her phrasing. When she said ‘legs’ instead of ‘pants’ the sentence completely changed its meaning. My days are often filled with little incidences like this one. After all, I have a toddler who is just learning the importance of word choice and has not quite figured out the differences between words like him/he or her/she. I find myself automatically correcting her word choices several times a day (she either doesn’t mind or just doesn’t listen to me. Both are fairly believable with that Monkey.)
The thing is, I don’t just correct my family or friends. I find myself correcting, well, myself a lot. I will stop mid-sentence to try out several differing words in order to find the one most suitable. I will forget what I’m trying to write out, causing frustration and despair in my pressurized brain, because I stopped to experiment with word choice. (Word of advice…leave word choice experimentation to the second or third draft/revision process!).
Sometimes I even stop enjoying a great book because I get caught up in the odd turns of phrase or misguided word choices in one sentence. Does this ever happen to you?
There are, of course, ways to go about fixing the issue. The most popular way seems to just be turning a deaf ear and uncaring eye to the words themselves. Let the words fall as they may and ignore the oddities. That works for some people, but what about those of us that get the ‘niggling’ feeling. Those of us whose subconsciouses will chew at the issue for days until it suddenly has an ‘AHA’ moment? A great vocabulary will help, as will the knowledge that sometimes words just won’t sound the way you think they should.
Speaking of word choices, have you read or heard anything lately that really stood out to you? A book or song you LOVE, a quote you can’t get out of your head? Leave a comment and share that with us! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got!
I’m off to read about a little bookshop in Paris. May your inspiration ne’er cease to flow and your words always fall in the right place!