An Introduction to Words
In the beginning, there was the Word…
Religion aside, the word is the cell of the novel. Sure there are phonemes—the smallest unit of sound that distinguishes different words (s/a/d from m/a/d for example) and they are important, but they are a part of the word the way the nucleus is part of a cell. It is word choice that makes the difference between the next literary blockbuster and the next literary dud.
It' s the difference between being memorable and being forgotten.
But how do you practice word choice? If you write, won’t the correct words just come to you? Not necessarily. The parts of your brain that govern speech and language (Wernicke’s area for comprehension and Broca’s area for production) have to be exercised and the pathways strengthened. This way, the correct words can flow better while you are writing and you’ll have greater command of the imagery you wish to convey. Strengthening your ability with words can be broken down into three parts:
Stronger Verbs and Verb Tenses
Adjectives, Adverbs, and Prepositions
No, we are not going back to fifth grade grammar here. The focus isn’t on rules—we all know the main ones by heart anyway—but on ways to expand your galaxy of words and the style with which you use them.