Using words

I started writing my first story. Intertwining characters and plots has been a fun thing to do, and so has the process of transitioning them into words. But it’s also been quite challenging.

Here’s a challenge for you: pick a friend, anyone. Recall his or her face. Now imagine you have to instil that image in the mind of a person (let’s call him Bob) who’s never seen your friend, and all you have is words. Not easy, is it? It’s impossible really, to get Bob to visualise the face you’ve seen, the exact one. But the question is: how close can you get? That’s what writing can be like. And exercises like this can be used to improve descriptions.

Events and feelings are different from faces: easier, in a way, to write about. But it’s difficult still, to make beautifully written and engaging fiction out of a string of them. You have to use the right words. You need a good range of them.

I need more words in my inventory, definitely do. But that’s not all. Check out this Feelings Wheel:

It’s likely that you know all the words in the wheel. They’re simple words. But do you use them effectively in your everyday life? I know I don’t. So what good can learning new words do me, when I don’t use most of what I already know. But hey, no need to feel dispirited, we can always improve.

Pick two or three words from the wheel, ones that you don’t use enough. Think about how and where you’d use them. Remain aware of them for a couple of days — try to use them when you write and speak. Then pick new words. Repeat until you you’re satisfied.

Writing can be wonderful. It can guide your mind down intriguing paths. It can change the way you think about language. This is my first post about this journey I’ve just started. Many more to come.