Tag Archives: word

Thesaurus in hand……….

As I chronicle this writing journey of mine, I am trying to remember the little things that are making a big difference for me.

Making the most of my words is a very important part of my writing experience.

I keep a thesaurus right beside my computer. I am kickin’ it Old School and keep a real hand-held copy at the ready at. all. times. The computer has one – but I like leaving my words to rest on the screen, while I search for their companions. That way I can easily scan between the sentence on the screen and the options on the page.

Personally, I am not brave enough to delve into big words that I cannot spell and don’t really understand anyway, so with my Thesaurus I rarely need a dictionary. (Just ignore the ‘dictionary title’ part of this graphic – it was all I could find.)

As a child, I wrote a lot of (really bad) poetry. In poetry, you have to be concise. It’s best if the words you use portray exactly what you mean. So if you struggle with this concept, just try writing some poetry. Try describing something in five words or fewer without using the object’s name. Spoon for example – that sterling silver soup server . It’s not great writing – but you get the point, right?

And yes, sometimes, a simple spoon is simply a spoon and it’s perfectly fine to say that.

However, when you are writing a novel, you are going to have to express some ideas over and over again and it will be tempting to rely on familiar words. But that will get boring to your reader. A Thesaurus will help you make your writing more interesting.

But it will also help you pinpoint exactly what you are trying to say. Let’s just say that Sally is a detective and she has to walk into a lot of rooms to do  her investigating. I am sure you can appreciate why you don’t always want to say, “Sally walked into a room.” Consider these options…..

Sally walked into the room.
(Sally is boring)

Sally danced into the room.
(Sally is graceful and probably happy. She might even have good news.)

Sally marched into the room.
(Sally has a purpose or is mad.)

Sally crawled into the room.
(Sally is a baby or doesn’t want anyone to see her. She is possibly hungover or sick.)

Sally tip-toed into the room.
(Sally is sneaky – I like Sally.)

Sally got tired of being an example and huffed out of the room.
(Sally is a brat.)

See the difference a word can make? What do you do when you get stuck on finding just what you are trying to say?

Seriously, feet and facebook………..

I try not to take myself too seriously. I see this blog as more therapeutic than a quick road to riches. And until a book publisher contacts me (anyone, anyone,  Bueller, Bueller), that is what I will continue to do. But, sometimes I do find myself wondering why I am doing this and who is really reading it anyway. I’ll admit my children sometimes try to read it over my shoulder (while I am writing of course), which, while endearing, ends up being mostly annoying  because it is hard to write and answer a million questions at the same time.  And “wait, go back” can kick a ingenious writing idea right out of your head faster than you can say blog post. Anyblog they are supposed to wait and read it when I am dead and gone so that they can marvel at how fantastic we were to drag them all over the world and how wonderfully I captured our memories. And number one hubby comes home every night and says, “I saw your blog today……” and comments on what he read. However, most of my readers remain nameless and faceless. There was even once a commenter whose name was “Can I please remain Unknown”. Pretty funny.

Luckily, I can answer some of those probing questions about why and where my readers come here by myself. (Hello Vietnam!) I get wonderful emails about my blog and lots of positive feedback from friends and readers. And, as the owner of this blog, I can see the key words that people use to find my blog on the great blogosphere. Some of those key word searches make me laugh and many of them make me wonder just what in the heck people are really looking for – and, more to the point,  w.h.y. they are looking for w.h.a.t. they are looking for. Some of you really should be embarrassed. 😉

Some bloggers will use these key words to their huge advantage to attract more hits on their blog. Throw in a couple of “trashy” words and your blog stats head up, up, up. That ticker ticks away higher and higher reader counts. (Of course, I am not talking about my blog friends – most of them write what they want and could give a rat’s arse about how many people read it.)

I try to be careful not to use too many “inappropriate words”. Remember my children sometimes read this over my shoulder. I try not to use words that will attract the attention of  Jerry Springer, ped*philes, terr*rists, or hubby’s old girlfriends. So, my stats roll slowly along. They are crawling at a good pace – we just hit over 70,000 together. Yippee!

Today, though, I am back to wondering if my blog has real appeal. As I travel the world and capture our experiences and impressions, my two most popular posts are about feet and facebook. Not poverty, not the Taj Mahal, not parenting (although it might be good that people are not seeking parenting advice here), not even living abroad, but feet and facebook. Wow. I may need to start trash talking. Seriously………..