Crutch words – ANGRY (part 1)

For a writer, drafting a story is all about putting all the thoughts down on paper (or virtual paper) as fast as possible. Often, if not always, this comes at a price. Drafts are messy. They often make us cringe when we read them. Why? For many reasons, but one of them is because we use words that are always the same boring ones, which most of the times break one of the sacred rules of writing: show, don’t tell. One such word is ANGRY. Below is a small list (more words to follow in the coming weeks) of synonyms that we can use instead. As is always the case with synonyms, each word carries a unique inherent meaning, so even though each is a synonym to angry, they don’t always serve as a replacement. Make sure you’re absolutely certain that the word you’re about to use carries the meaning you have in mind.

You can read part two here.

On a side note, I think I have failed miserably in my attempt to make the colour of the word angry like that of Hulk’s. Not only that, but the font is wrong. *sigh* It shows how little I know about typography and how much I have to work on it.

Crutch words – WENT (part 2)

You didn’t think I forgot part 2 for this crutch word, did you? In case you missed part 1 you can find it here.

When we draft our stories, we want to get them out as fast as possible. Which tends to make things sloppy and messy. Non-writers, don’t get us wrong. It’s a need all writers have; get the story out of our heads immediately. Unfortunately, this comes at a price.

Crutch words.

When we finish our first draft, we haven’t exactly “written” anything. Technically, we have, but practically, well… it’s not readable. When we draft a story, what we’re really doing is putting our thoughts down. Writing comes after we’re finished with the first draft. That’s when we have to turn our drafts into something that won’t hurt the eyes (or the minds) of our readers. Part of this process involves removing crutch words.

One such crutch word is the past tense of the verb go (went). We love using it (and other crutch words), because it’s always available and it does the job. The thing is, readers want more than a word that just does the job. The problem with went is that it’s not descriptive enough. And so, we have a huge list of synonyms to consider. Below, is a small list of some of the available synonyms for WENT. Keep in mind that every synonym has a meaning of its own, so make sure you use the right word. And yes, I know there are more synonyms available. I will cover those in future posts.

 

Crutch words – WENT (part 1)

When drafting a story, a book, or a poem, we tend to use words that will easily allow us to convey what we have in mind. They help us get the words out fast. It makes sense; it’s a draft, meant only for the writer and only until revisions and edits start. Past that stage, it’s best (for our readers’ sake) to change these words in favour of better and more descriptive ones.

WENT is a word writers like to use often, but one that doesn’t paint a nice picture for the reader. Below are some alternative words you can use. Keep in mind, the list of synonyms for WENT is much bigger, and I will come back to it at a later time with more words. As always, please make sure you use the right replacement at the right moment for best results. Each synonym has a meaning of its own.

 

 

Also, I changed the blog’s front page a bit. It took me hours to get the image mapping to work and to figure out how to fix the html code (I’m soooooo incompatible with such things), but I think the result is better than the old one. The question is, do you like it?

Crutch words – Smile/Laugh

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about crutch words and I focused on the word LOOK. Of course, look isn’t the only crutch word writers use. SMILE and LAUGH are two similar words. Keep in mind that the words I include below are not the only ones, but they tend to be used more often than others. Also, some of them are the product of onomatopoeia (Greek word, meaning to create names), and as such they describe a sound. As I mentioned in that earlier post, make sure you understand what each word means before you use them.

Crutch words

Nearly every human being (if not all) have expressions and words we like to use more often than others. We either use them from habit, or because we can’t remember a synonym, or because we don’t know any other synonym. When we talk to people, the listener’s mind doesn’t always pick up on those repetitions, and if it does, it focuses on the meaning of the sentence as a whole rather than that any of the words we keep repeating.

That’s not the case with written words. The ancient Romans used to say, Scripta Manent, which loosely means the written word endures. The full saying was, verba volant, scripta manent, meaning words are volatile, the written words endure. And they were right in more than one levels. For instance, when we read something, it’s easier to pick up repetitions. I’m not sure why that is, maybe because our eyes can pick up patterns, or perhaps  our minds work differently when we read something instead of saying it. We, as writers, owe it to our readers to present them with the best and most descriptive of our work we can possibly create.

One way of achieving this is by realising we’re using crutch / repetitive words, and do our best to come up with a synonym that is more descriptive and conveys the same message in a better way.

One such word is LOOK, when used as a verb meaning to examine visually. Below is a small list of synonyms you can use instead of look. Now, before you use them, make sure you understand the inherent meaning of each word, since synonym to a word doesn’t necessarily mean equivalent. Also keep in mind that some of those words are also considered filter words, and may cause problems with telling instead of showing. Use your judgement.

Keep in mind that I focused on the synonyms for look that mean to examine visually and none of its other meanings.