Thursday, April 3, 2008


I love words. Okay, that’s not a big surprise, but really I do. An email comes to me each day with a new word and its meaning. Sometimes they’re normal, everyday words. More often than not, they’re obscure words and those are the ones I love the most.

The funny thing is as much as I love words, I found in the editing process, I was using some words way to much. How many times can you ‘look, gaze, or peer’? Or better yet, the words ‘as she’ and ‘as he’. I’m not saying you don’t need those words, because you do. Just not tons of them.

Action words are some of my favorite. Slammed, bounced, tickled, kissed, and so many more with or without the ‘ed’ or adding ‘ing’. Going back through AT&B, I’ve found places to add action rather than the normal ‘as she/he’ or ‘she turned’ or ‘he looked’. For me it makes the pacing so much better and keeps the dreaded ‘TELLING’ out of the book.

Yes, for those of you who know me well, I do have a spreadsheet. I love spreadsheets, what can I say. It’s a little OCD of me, but it works. It’s simply called, are you ready for this? Words To Start Paragraphs With.

In all honesty, I rarely glance at anymore. In fact, I forgot it was hanging on my bulletin board, until last night. I needed a word. Yep, it was there. Just what I needed and so the ‘Unexpected’ the paragraph took on new life.

See that’s the thing. Words are the life force to our books. If they’re too weak our characters will have problems breathing. Everything slows down and for a book that would be its heart. You can’t live long with a heart that doesn’t beat. The same thing happens but to the other side of the spectrum if they’re too strong for to long. The characters begin racing through the book and without warning they’ll plop down and won’t move. Okay, that sure doesn’t work in the book.

Long blog, short. I’ll spend the time to find the right word when needed. Because when that happens, you’ve hit gold. The reader no longer realizes he or she is reading. The words have breathed the correct amount of life into the book at the right time. The readers breathing will match the books, slowing down and speeding up as they are then immersed within your world.

Yep, I love words.

How about you? Do you find you have words you have change as you go back through your wip? Or as a reader, do find words that slow your reading down, making it hard to get through? What about the books where after the fist paragraph you no longer realized you were reading words, but now lived inside the pages of the book?

WW’s and PD’s,

Oh and just on a side note, Julie Leto is guest blogging over on Diana Peterfreund’s blog today. Go read it, leave a comment, and you may win a copy of Phantom Pleasures.


Patricia W. said...

I love words too. Studying for college entrance exams years ago was fun for me.

I find that the first draft has lots of telling and word repetition. Rooting that stuff is easier as you closer and closer to the final draft.

My favorites in need of a synonym: look, gaze, or peer. Got any suggestions?

Vicki said...

Hey Patricia, It's so true. The first draft for me is simple get it on paper.

Here's some words for you. Words to Replace Look with:

Gaze, search, seek, convey , glance, notice, observe, gape, goggle, gawk, ogle, peer, glimpse, peek, cast, survey, glower, leer, scan, spy, view, scrutinize, examine, stare, regard, study, watch, appraised, devoured (as in her with his eyes), flash, rubberneck, spotted, recognized, fixating

Carolyn Jean said...

Patricia: Ditto on that exam thing. I loved that. I also use gaze too much, I think. But isn't it a great word?

Vicki: That is so funny that you have a spreadsheet! You know, I always wish there were more words for kinds of walking.

Jill James said...

Vicki, I love words and the feelings they convey, sometimes differently for different people.

I picked up Phantom Pleasures yesterday at BN and I haven't put it down yet except to sleep and do email this morning. LOL Great book.

Malicious Intent said...

My baby started a blog, he even came up with the name/title all on his own. Wrote his first blog today. (I just typed for him) So proud and want to encourage him to continue to practice writing.