Word Choice Category

Renaming Party

Well, life has sure been crazy the last several months. On top of teaching 10-20 hours a week (plus the accompanying paperwork, prep work, and communication), I have a couple of writing projects and some other things. I feel like I have four jobs right now. I haven’t had much time (any, really) to write […]

Read More

Pretty Sentence

In revision, I came across a pretty sentence that unfortunately alliterates. I love the imagery of this sentence: Black smoke from its stacks stained the cerulean sky. This isn’t a poem, so alliteration–especially accidental–isn’t a good idea. I really wanted to keep that imagery. Here’s how I revised it: Black smoke from its chimneys stained […]

Read More

The Question Mark Strikes Again–Word Usage

In preparing my submission for critique at the writing conference, I am searching for all the “(?)” notes in my story. I find this is a handy way to avoid breaking my flow as I write. For example, is “iridescent” the word I want here? Add a “(?)” note and come back to it later. […]

Read More

Appropriate Usage

All throughout school, we are taught to use proper grammar and effective style. We must write and communicate well in order to be taken seriously. A poorly written essay, letter, or advertisement shoots holes in our credibility. However, fiction writers have a secondary plain on which we operate. Our language must match our story. For […]

Read More

Suddenly . . .

In one of my writer’s workshops, a colleague pointed out a paragraph I began with the word “suddenly”. She cautioned usage of that word. Whenever it popped up in her writing, it usually meant she had neglected writing details in the previous paragraphs. I looked, and sure enough, she was right. I try to be […]

Read More

Changing Meanings

In one of my workshops, we were happily going over a friend’s excerpt, commenting on this and that when our faculty leader drew our attention to the first page. The time was predawn, the setting a city street. A gaggle of girls stood on the corner twittering. The sentences the author had written evoked such […]

Read More