How To Play With Words

So you are a Wordsmith. A Wordsmith knows how to use words to get the desired effect. There’s a way to tell a story and there’s a way to weave a story. Only the one who knows how to weave it will have the crowd mesmerized. He has their undivided attention.

Far too many books just tell a story. I was surprised to pick up a best-seller recently by a famous Australian author and I could not even finish the book. The story just dragged on and on. I had to force myself to continue just to see if it was leading somewhere. Half-way through, I decided I would not waste any more time. I closed the book and never finished it.

You may have a excellent command of the English language and equally good grammar but to weave a story you need to know how to play with words, not just use it.

To illustrate this let’s take something simple. My post on my Facebook page. I place before you both the edited and unedited version so you can see how choice of words, placement of words, can all make a difference. I called the unedited ‘Wrong Version’, though this is not accurate. It should be called the less appealing version.

wrong-version

correct-version-2

I had three choices for the opening word

I used ‘Spotted’ in the Wrong Version. I also tried ‘Witnessed’. Spotted is too casual. Too much as a matter-of-fact. Witnessed seemed more appropriate for a crime scene, but ‘Sighted’ captured the awe of the scene, i.e. “sighted a UFO”.

Exclamation

“Aw man, what a sight!” in the Wrong Version. Obviously I had to lose the word “sight” in the Correct Version because it clashed with the opening word. Even if it didn’t exclamations should just be an expression of that awe like a sigh or an expelling of a breath, short and poignant. Again nothing wrong in the other version, but this suits the situation.

Continuing sentence

The underlined words sound like it is a continuing sentence rather than something you would find at the end. That is deliberate as it adds to the splendour of the experience. It gives the illusion that the narrator is at a loss for words to describe the scene. This notion is sealed by the following word “Breathtaking”.

Avoiding the pronoun ‘You’ in the last paragraph

By keeping the narrative in the first person, you are preserving the personal touch of the story. Furthermore it is easy to overuse ‘You’ as a generic pronoun as can be seen here. I carefully avoided using “I” or “Me” as well to show that those are generic hypotheses and not actual experiences that have happened to you.

Final Emphasis

The final emphasis on how to bring home how magical that day was is those two simple words “Not today.” In the Wrong Version it is not there and while it is acceptable, by adding it in you change acceptable to exceptional.

Don’t just write down a story as if you were making an incident report at the police station. Play with words. That is the essence of Creative Writing.

Credit: Thank you Pixabay for the photo

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