Water, One-Line Wednesday and Writing

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IMG_0067Today’s one-line Wednesday (#1linewed) theme on Twitter is water. For one-line Wednesday, you post a line from your current work-in-progress, or “WIP” as the cool kids say, that fits that theme.

When I saw “water,” I thought, oh no. Two works-in-progress (the great WIPs vs. WsIP debate rages on in my brain) and no references.

Uh, no.

Both of them, thus far, have 16 references. Yes, exactly 16. Yes, I also thought that was weird. One is complete; one is famously incomplete as it is lacking an ending. “Famously” on this blog, anyway.

As I perused the uses of “water,” combing for tidbits to tweet, I saw they weren’t intrusive and they didn’t particularly draw attention, at least in most of the sentences. Still, I found it funny that I couldn’t recall a single use in either manuscript.

And for anyone who hasn’t read my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removed — the sequel being one of the WIPs/WsIP — Venetia, the protagonist, works at a place called Water Me Green.

Water. Me Green. Hmm.

Clearly I’ve disconnected from the individual words themselves required to build a story, and instead focused on their effect when all piled together. The wall instead of the bricks.

But that’s what makes this twitter game interesting. Sometimes it forces you to pull a brick out here and a brick out there and examine your choice of building materials.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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The Klutz and the Letter K

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Every K-word I could think of this morning is actually a C-word. Clean, crafty, clumsy, klutzy. Hold on a second there.

That’s a K.

I am a klutz, generally speaking. I drop things, I trip, I stabbed my thumb with a screwdriver the other day. Don’t worry, both thumb and screwdriver are doing fine, but it’s amazing the things you realize are bad ideas only after you do them.

Sorry, what was that, hypothetical reader? Not everyone knows what a klutz is? Well, that’s a valid a point. For anyone unfamiliar, a klutz is a clumsy person. The words seem close, but there’s something so expressive about the sounds of the letters when you say “klutz.”

When you’re using a written medium, the sounds of the words may not be the first thing you consider in word choice, but I know when I read, I hear the words in my head. They have a form and a shape. Not only do you want the word with the closest meaning to what you’re trying to convey, you want it to sound right, to nestle in among the other words of the sentence, to give the sentence body.

“Clumsy” is thick and lurching; it has no sense of humor. “Klutzy” has a twinkle in its eye.

Neither is wrong, but one may be more right than the other. These aren’t necessarily decisions for a first draft, by the way. This kind of word choice comes along later, in the polishing stage of the editing process, when everything already has a color and tone.

Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got to wrap this up. My feet don’t drop things on themselves, you know.

Note: Apparently this post is my 500th! Wow, I had no idea I was that posty!

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Grappling with Word Choice

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I am not one who wants to live in the past. I love the future and all of the toys that it’s given us, but today, for just a minute or two, I was jealous of the Victorians. Yes, the Victorians.

Not because of their clothing, and certainly not because of the corsets, which seem like they would act as portable prisons, but because of the language. Sure, to us it sounds pompous and overly-flowery, but there was a freedom for precision in Victorian writing we don’t really have. So much so, I often find myself making up words just to convey exactly what I mean (and it’s fun. Really fun).

Lets say, for example, you wanted to describe Chicago’s lakefront on a distractingly beautiful day. With Victorian English, you could say, “The trees, verdant in late summer, frame themselves against the undulating sheet of unceasing water.”

I think that paints a pretty clear picture, though one that’s a bit overwrought for modern prose. Still, it’s precise. I’d pare that down to: “The August trees, still deep green, frame themselves against the vast, changing water.”

Is the image the same? I’m not sure, the more formal, more stuffy Victorian language covers everything in a coat of sepia in my mind. It seems grander somehow. Then again, I’d probably lose the interest of most modern readers at “verdant,” even though it’s a fabulous word that means exactly what it should.

Word choice can shift the entire tone of a piece, pulling a reader in, or pushing one out. If a sentence always sticks when you read it through, try changing out a word and see if that puts you back in the era in which you belong.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!