Tag Archives: Lazy

Avoidance

During a fiction writing class, our professor gave us a sheet of words. It was titled, ‘Words all Writers Should Avoid Using.’

The other week, I was given another web page that was basically a full on rant about several different words that are used too often and should never be used. There were 5-10 words on the list.

My only problem with this is that each list is almost completely different. Some words are shared throughout– almost (hah), suddenly, nearly, really/very, like– considered weak and detrimental to the piece. Though I try to take each of these seriously and understand the reasoning for all of what I see, plenty of the words listed seem as a matter of opinion.

Of course, then you run into weak words versus strong words. There’s the old speech that Robin Williams gives in Dead Poets Society, proclaiming that the word ‘very’ is lazy, and encouraging them to use other words to describe it, because there are an abundant amount more than just the single word. To which, I will agree with this; there are words that are plain weak and water down the writing when used, but finding words that sound more beautiful in the stead of those is about more than just looking in the thesaurus. It’s about changing your language entirely.

The boulder was heavy in his palms.

Simple as it is, can be changed to…

The weight of the boulder was bearing down on him. 

In another example, I’ll take my sentence from earlier.

It’s almost completely different

To…

each is totally different, save for some choices…

Substituting words can only go so far, so it becomes a challenge to make the language and sound more diverse, intriguing, capturing.

Which reminds me of a challenge issued by Chuck Palahniuk, to depart with all “thought” verbs, not to show that a character is thinking. So no, “wonders,” “muses,” “considers,” etc. And to keep up with it for six months. Though I still find it a bit daft, I like the difficulty it presents. It forces you to think of other ways to go about showing what you want to say about what’s in the character’s head, or to forgo it.

We want our words, our content, to be as strong as possible. The more we challenge ourselves to be more fluid and diverse in what we have to say or how we say it, the sharper we find ourselves.

I wanted to show some of the sites that I mentioned. Though there are many more of them, here are a few examples:

From freelancewriting.com

This one from litreactor.com 

And this from tameri.com

Weak words, those that are vague and provide little to nothing about what you mean or are referring to, should, by all means, be cast out at any and every opportunity. When faced with “things,” “something,” and “stuff,” try to be precise. Being specific is the difference between strong language and a flaky one. It is also, as one of those sites suggested, a way to show confidence in your writing.

-The Novice Wordsmith

Advertisements

Prompt: Lazy or Busy?

Quick prompt for you in between all of my stuff today!

Pick a character and run with it: Are they the kind that would do all the cooking on Thanksgiving, or would they completely opt out? Furthermore, are they more lazy, or do they have to have something to do? For those who aren’t in the US, focus more on a day where food is the key, whether it be a birthday or a different holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy Thursday/Friday to everyone!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Lazy Days

Today was a lot of laying around and sleeping, but when I finally got off my ass, it was productive.

To be honest, I usually hate when I wake up late, because the day’s halfway gone by the time I’m up and active. Sometimes, you just have those days where you need or want to do little to nothing. Curl up in the blankets and feel the supreme comfort of the bed, let yourself be taken away by how good it feels.

There will be days when I don’t care to write, either. I’ll be more interested in searching pictures and playing games or watching movies, or I’ll simply get distracted by one thing after another at work or if I’m volunteering.

Then there are the days I want to do nothing but write.

Days when I’m lazing around and just enjoying time passing are sometimes better, when that attitude is welcome. When I can close my eyes and relish in the fact that I don’t need to be somewhere right away. Cat days, I should call them.

Then there are times where I can’t stand to not be doing something.  Today has definitely not been one of those days. I have heavier topics on my mind that I want to write about, to get out into the world to you, but I haven’t felt the urge to let loose on that right now. So I’m just accepting that this day is all about letting things be and going with the rhythm of the world.

There’s a prompt in that, too. Which character of yours enjoys more lazy days than productive ones? How does your main character feel about them? Are they able to be productive at all? When was the last time they got to do much, or wanted to, or the other way around: who’s a workaholic, in your stable of characters, that doesn’t let themselves relax enough?

I can still think, at least, and I’ve been doing plenty of that today, even if it’s been at that very comfortable, slow pace. Mmmm…

-The Novice Wordsmith