Something I wish more writers understood is the notion that words are free.
The thing nobody wants to admit is that the written word isn’t just computer code with only one right answer to unlock the desired command. Any old word choice might not always do. It isn’t like standing up and talking out a salespitch to convince somebody that your idea is best. You can’t rewind and edit a verbal conversation, especially when it relies on context, voice volume and tone, and even body language to communicate an idea or achieve a result.
The written word doesn’t have those same shortcuts and requirements. All you have is the letters on the page. This is because the written word is “spoken” in the Reader’s Voice. In the Reader’s head. It has to resonate with the Reader, not with the Writer. It doesn’t matter what the Writer thinks of their work if it means nothing to the Reader. Anybody can make words happen, but that doesn’t mean they’ll hit the mark on the first try.
Yes, words are hard. Finding the perfect combination of words, to form the perfect sentence, to craft the perfect paragraph, and fill the perfect page… all of that takes hard work. Real work.
But once those words are on the page, whether written on paper in pencil or pen, or written in a digital document, those words are then easily changed. They can be rearranged into something even better than what they started out. They are not set in stone. They can be perfect words and yet still be rearranged to fit better.
The only thing preventing the better draft becoming the final product is simple effort.
You should grieve if a fictional character is killed. You should care.
~ George R.R. Martin ~
And this is why I write. It’s a terrible addiction and a ruthless dragon to chase.
“The triumphant softball coach was treated with all the veneration of a movie star for days following the big game.”
Veneration – noun
1) to regard with reverential respect.
2) adore, revere, reverence, worship.
“The coroner’s assistant tripped over the cadaver in the darkness of the crime scene.”
Cadaver – Noun
: a dead body.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Kindred – adj.
: of a like nature or character.
As it happens, I like my Nook and wish I had a nook to read it in! Although I generally do more writing on my Nook than reading.
“With a Nook for company, I curled up in the breakfast nook to read in the sunshine.”
Nook – noun
1) an interior angle or corner formed usually by two walls.
2) a sheltered or hidden place.
3) a usually recessed section of a larger room.
Lately I’ve been on a sci-fi/urban fantasy kick. And by lately, I really mean the past few years. It just sort of showed up and then decided to stay. Accordingly, I’ve found a few sources to help me along as I’m plodding through my writing projects. I’m sure they’re supposed to be for more intelligent, academic pursuits, but they certainly suit my purpose for chasing potential muse-rabbits down their plot-holes.
The Medieval Bestiary is exactly what it says it is. And it has some fun graphics. The site itself is a bit out of date, but it’s dealing in old lore and folktales so the information isn’t terribly likely to have changed too much since it was put up. Everything sources back and usually has neat quotes from ancient texts, just in case you don’t like their summaries.
Encyclopedia Mythica is a bit more straightforward and less graphically-inclined than the Medieval Bestiary. It’s set up like a wiki. In my poking around between the two, the Mythica seems to cover a broader range of topics. It includes an option to check their references but it doesn’t have the same handy quotes right there on the entry page.
And then there’s WolframAlpha, which is a cool little quick-fact generator. Type in a topic and it will do a breakdown of the information for you. For example, type in the name of a city and it will return with a page full of stats and demographic information and random facts useful toward the goal of writing about them. Very user-friendly, rather like Google.
A friendly warning: All of these pages are rather easy to get lost in, just like tvtropes.org, tumblr, or urban dictionary. One search leads to another which leads to another and before you know it you’ve lost an hour to looking up if bears really pee in the woods or if that’s just a fairy-inspired wives-tale.
“When Trina came down with the flu, Old Bill suggested the nostrum of an onion peel and honey.”
Nostrum – noun
: a questionable medicine or remedy.
~ per Merriam-Webster
“I have no idea how to use godhead in a sentence.”
Godhead – noun
1) divine nature or essence
2) the nature of God, especially as existing in three persons