Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Right Word

I love words. I love complicated and interesting words. Fun sounding words and words with unusual meanings. It’s a little hard to weave into normal conversation, but I’ve managed to do it on occasion. One of my favorite words is “defenestrate”.

As a writer, it’s not my job to always use the coolest word or I would say, even the most accurate word. I have to use the right word.

There are unusual words that might be correct but if the word is too unfamiliar to the reader, you run the risk of losing them. I don’t think we should dumb down our writing but sometimes the most specific, accurate word isn’t the right word.

I also believe some authors end up sounding pretentious.  I know when I’m reading a book and I run into certain words, I feel as if the author just wants to show me they know what the word means. 
For example, the word “defenestrate”.  As I said, I love this word. I would not, however, throw it into a book even if it was the most accurate word.  Who wants the reader to feel as if they need to look up words while they’re reading? I want my readers captivated by the story, not feeling like they need a vocabulary lesson.

The To Do List (Welsh Wolves 1.5)
Coming Oct. 25
I write erotic romances and I don’t want my love scenes to get boring. I’m always trying to find new words for what’s happening in my books.

Take the word “thrust”...always looking for good ways to say that. Let’s face it. Whether I’m writing m/f, m/m or m/m/f, someone is usually “thrusting” at some point.

Check out the word “thrust” in the Thesaurus and you get: advance, blitz, boost, drive, impetus, impulsion, jump, lunge, momentum, onset, onslaught, poke, pressure, prod, propulsion, punch, push, shove, stab, whack, wham.

All good words. Some I like better than others. Some I’ve never thought of and some I will never use in a love scene. Poke and prod just aren’t sexy. Wham? Don’t think so. Drive, shove or stab would have their uses as things get hot, heavy and maybe a little rough.

As a writer, it’s all about choosing the right word for your story.
--- Tielle

And a few notes about “defenestrate”. Part of the reason I love it is because it comes from the Latin word fenestra. De-fenestra. You de-window something or someone. It’s usually used as a term of political dissent. Its first known use is in 1620, according to I looked it up on Wiki-pedia (I know the challenges of Wiki-pedia but I’ve heard this story before).

The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept. 

1 comment:

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Wow, I love the history of the word "defenestrate"--talk about a vivid image! Thanks, Tielle!