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April 11, 2016 / catherinebwrites




Words… this is what writers are all about… the magic of words.   How they can create characters, landscapes, countries, fantasy worlds, actions, thrills, laughter,  ideas.   Words can entertain, expand minds, challenge preconceptions.   The sword can conquer,dominate and enslave but the word can change minds and liberate souls.

O.K… that’s me waxing lyrical….

However…. as writers, we need to pay close attention to every single word that we use to be sure that that it serves the whole.

At the start of each draft you asked  “What is it about?”  and  “What is it really about?” By now you know the answers.   It is time to ensure that every word you have put on the page is guiding in that direction.



  • Is that that noun the correct one to use?  Is it right for the context?

E.G.  If the character speaking is an ordinary joe he might use the word ” lughole”.  If he were a journalist he might write “ear canal”.   If he were a doctor he might say “meatus”.  If the word you have used is not right for the context, check your Thesaurus for a more accurate one.


  • Could that noun plant a subtle clue to later events?

It is always a pleasure for the reader to come across a passage in a story where something clicks and they think “Ah yes” Even though they’re not sure why they thought it.

E.G.  If you’d used the word “lughole” earlier, the reader will think “ah yes” when the character turns out to be a washed up boxer.


 Never trust an adjective.    They are sneaky devils and they can seriously weaken  your writing!


  • Is that adjective necessary?

Rule of thumb for using adjectives.

  1. Read the sentence aloud with the adjective.
  2. Read it aloud without the adjective
  3. Which is stronger?
  4. Is there a more accurate noun, which would make the adjective unnecessary?

E.g. “The big, black dog leaped for his throat.”   OR  “The Doberman leaped for his throat,”

If you do need an adjective make sure it is one that will help guide your reader towards the outcome you want. Use your Thesaurus.


Don’t trust them either.   They are in league with the adjectives lurking about ready to undermine your writing.    Instead, try to find a more accurate verb.   For example instead of “He shouted loudly at the television” you could try “ He roared at the television.”

However when you find the perfect  adjective or adverb it is a delight.   Use your Thesaurus.


When you find the word in your Thesaurus that sounds right,  check its precise meaning in the dictionary.   It is easy to choose a word that sounds perfect but doesn’t mean quite what you want!


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