What's the Word?
I thought we would distill this craft down to its most basic element, the word. Without a good supply of quality words, where are we really? As such, I’ve assembled a couple of chapters from books remarking on this essential building block of our work, the word.
First are two chapters from A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. In these chapters, she gives some suggestions to “enliven your verbology” and some ideas on how to lighten up your work with some word play. Next, is an essay by Eric LeMay, “Word Hoards” from the awesome little book, Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction. If you have a few dollars to spare, this is one of those books I’d recommend purchasing, it’s chock full of good stuff.
Chock full of good stuff. Germanic. It’s an amazing repository of essential exercises and advice from respected writers. Latinate.
Give the attached essay a read, and you’ll see what I mean.
The LeMay piece contains the exercise I’d like you to try, which is, in short:
Make a list of words about a particular subject. Search for verbs, nouns, and adjectives. He recommends checking out Visuwords at www.visuwords.com, Work with these words to write a short piece, or enhance a subject included in a larger work. Read the entire exercise description in the attached essay.
I tried Visuwords, punching in the word “aging” to compliment the revisions I’m doing on an essay. It gave me the word “catabiosis”, a word that did not appear when I did a thesaurus search on www.thesaurus.com. “Catabiosis”, that’s a cool word, and I will try to work into my current revision.
I hope these readings and exercises adds to whatever you're working on.
As always, feel free to leave me a comment about what you're working on and how applying this affected your project.
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Hey there! Over the years, I've assembled these prompts, readings, and articles for my students and writing group members. Feel free to use these in your own work or share them in your writing groups. I would love to read your responses to these, please leave a comment!