Words are a writer’s paint applied on paper or electronic canvas with pen, pencil, or fonts. Like the perfect hue, the right word in the right place can give your writing a little pizzazz. “Precipice” is a cool word. Not only can it be used to describe the scenery, it can also help set the mood of a scene. “Abominable” is a fun word. Yet, other than the abominable snowman in the 1964 made-for-TV children’s show Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the word “abominable” isn’t used much these days. Abominable, isn’t it?
There are so many terrific old-fangled words that are rarely, if ever, used. Some of those words skulk around in my head and often appear in my many soliloquies. Old phrases are great too. They are quite fun to use of an evening.
To some, it is a faux pas if the scribe sprinkles clichés in her writing. Hogwash! Clichés can have their place among written words if used sparingly and in the correct context. For example, a foppish curmudgeon in a story may use clichés regularly in his conversations.
How often do you read or hear the words: epiphany, mustachioed, ignoramus, and whimsical? Not often enough. There are so many words in the English language that don’t get their due. One of my favorites is “nary,” as in “Nary a breeze is blowing.” Some others are regional in nature. If the setting of your story is in Texas, you can bet your bottom dollar that the heroine is fixin’ to do something – good, bad, or otherwise. And, yous guys best know your Long Islander slang when writing a play set in that part of the country.
Fun words can give your characters . . . well . . . a little character. Writers must be wary though. As you can tell by this blog, the use of too many obscure, yet charming, words and clichés can make a debacle of your masterpiece.
Janet Cooper Taylor
- The Dumbest Cliché Ever! (jeremyhelligar.wordpress.com)
- Texas talk, colloquialisms, and weasel words – in my writing? (judythewriter.wordpress.com)
- Cliche (writingsnippets.wordpress.com)
- What to do about clichés: advice from Dr Kim (sistersofthepen.wordpress.com)