Writing Update and Plot Issues: My Problems Wordiness and Vocabulary

AT LAST I HAVE RETURNED TO THE LAND OF THE LIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Forgive me if I seem a bit overdramatic, but I feel like I have just come out of a three month long hibernation. After endless bouts of power outages, snow shovels and sub-zero temperatures I am ecstatic to say that SPRING IS HERE!!!!!!! *applause and fireworks*

WINTER IS OVER!!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!

WINTER IS OVER!!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!

When I was at college during my freshman year I got stuck for ideas when I was working on an essay and I gave myself five or ten minutes to work on a freewriting prompt which was completely unrelated to my essay. When my time was up after the first time I had about three pages of a story started, Through all of my years at college and the time after whenever I would find myself mentally stuck I go back to my old standby and add to it. This one writing prompt, which by this point feels like an old friend, has been slowly growing on my computer for 8 years. A few months ago I realized that my prompt was so long that it could be the starting block for a novel. So I’ve spent the past few months in editing, reworking, and tinkering around with it. It’s not finished yet, but the editing process gave me ample opportunity to exercise my brain during the winter freeze.

The writing prompt 8 years in the making!!! :)

The writing prompt 8 years in the making!!! πŸ™‚

One of the problems I have found in my own writing is that I tend to use more, or in some instances more complicated, words than I need. For me half of my editing time consists either of cutting down words or going to my trusty thesaurus and trying to find simpler versions of certain words. As I mentioned in a previous post in the past reading was something I never wanted to do because it made me feel stupid. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen were really the first books I read that got me excited about reading. Because the beginning of my life as a bookworm started with those books I have always been drawn to books of that nature and I think that might have had an influence on my writing style. When I first starting writing some of my friends thought my style was overly wordy, pretentious and over the top and they were right.

The man in this picture= The sound of my writing style when I first started.

The man in this picture= The sound of my writing style when I first started.

The simple truth is that if you use too many words your reader may have the urge to yell β€˜just get to the point already!!!’. On the other hand if you use words which are too flowery your readers will think that you are a conceited snob. The rules that I have made for myself are to make sure that I never use more words than I need to get my point across, and also to keep my vocabulary restricted that that it’s appropriate to the story and my characters.

Well I hope this will be the first of many more posts to come for this year!!! So long Winter!!!!!!!!

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day: The Sinking Ship

Create a story that begins on a sinking ship. Each of your characters is allowed to save only one of their possessions. Write about the item they choose to save and also what they are willing to do to protect their treasured item. Is it something sentimental like a photo album or something like an iPod? What goes through their head when they are trying to select which item to take with them?

Have fun and I will see you soon!!!!!

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Books, Characters, Creative, Creative writing, Dialogue, Drama, Fiction, Ideas, Imagination, Literature, Nanowrimo, Novel Writing, Novels, Plot, Reading, Screenwriting, Uncategorized, Writing, writing prompt, writing tips

12 responses to “Writing Update and Plot Issues: My Problems Wordiness and Vocabulary

  1. I think that any word one uses must be the right word for the occasion and a lot depends on the type of book one is writing and of course, the audience one is aiming at.
    In dialogue, it’s imperative that certain characters not only use different words but also different speech patterns and methods of delivery.
    An architect’s vocab is more than likely going to be different to a bus driver’s.
    Though I agree with Pratchett, words such as beverage only ever appear on a menu and are never encountered in normal conversation.

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    • I completely agree with you in that words must be tailored for every situation. The problem for me is that, unless every character I write is a Victorian lady or Queen, I have to be sure not to make the dialogue unnecessarily complicated. A bit of haughty language is fine, but too much has the danger of messing up the tone of whatever I’m writing. πŸ™‚

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  2. Revising for me always involves a lot of cutting. A workshop leader once advised us to watch out for “soft ice” — words that don’t bear weight. She was a poet, and in poetry every word has to count, but I’ve found the image useful for prose too, both fiction and nonfiction. Come to think of it, there are sometimes whole scenes that don’t carry enough weight. They can often be tightened, or moved to a place where they’ll be more effective, or dropped altogether.

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    • When I first started writing I was writing plays. Because of my word choice I always had to set my plays in the past. After a while I realized that my word choice was boxing in my stories and making them a bit predictable. After that my thesaurus became my best friend! πŸ™‚

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  3. I’m right there with you! I learned to love words by reading the classics, but not everybody really wants to read Moby Dick…..again…..so I’m constantly having to be vigilant with myself about my word choice. Sounds like you’ve got an interesting book project in the works–all best wishes!

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    • Thanks a lot!!! What are the classics that got you interested in words?

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      • When I was a kid, my mom would buy me these junior illustrated editions of classics–abridged, but still pretty meaty for an elementary school kid. πŸ™‚ I was especially entranced by The Count of Monte Cristo, Little Women, and Moby Dick. When I started reading the unabridged versions, I fell in love with pretty much all the British novels, especially Austen’s and the Brontes’.

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        • My grandmother was the one who got me into the classics. I was bored one summer and she gave me a copy of Jane Eyre when I was 13 and that was it, I was in love. Before that I wasn’t into reading except for things like Roald Dahl, Harry Potter, and a few others. Now I’m a serious bookworm and reading is one of my passions!! πŸ™‚

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  4. Reblogged this on Heron Moon Press and commented:
    I very much liked this blog post and wanted to share it with all of you who are either in their first stages of writing and are trying to emulate some of the greats, or who have already been there and may laugh at yourself, again, when you read this.

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  5. Shannon

    I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

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