Monday, November 30, 2009

Craft/Favorite Words


Every writer has them--favorite words and phrases that find their way into far too many sentences. One of my second-draft tasks is hunting down all my darlings and winnowing them down to one necessary and exact instance. I love words. I play with them. And when I find one I can't live without, I know I have to choose its placement wisely and sparingly. Overuse dulls and diminishes. It also leads editors to draw circles around the offending repetitions and readers to lose their curiosity in what you have to say.

I have created a list that I keep in my notebook. "Linda's Favorite Words" is scrawled across the top of my narrow-ruled tablet and I add to it regularly as I find myself going back again and again to a particular expression. It keeps me honest. One "palpable" is evocative; three hammer the meaning into flatness and imprecision.

Take care with your words, and challenge yourself to continue to find new ones.

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