Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How To Use The Words

I feel like I haven't said this in a while, but everything on this blog is completley my own opinion.  I do not think I am the ultimate authority on anything...I just know what I like and what drives me crazy.  So on that we go.  With the books I've been reading lately I have noticed something that either makes me very happy or makes me roll my eye and that thing is words.  Ummm hmmm what are talking about is what you are probably saying right now.  Are not books all about the words?  How do words do anything but enable me to read?  Let me see if I can explain with any coherency what I mean.  It's not so much words that have grabbed my notice, but the way authors use words.  Hmm let me try this in list form and see if it makes more sense.
Flowery Words - Words that are put in a story strictly to make it sound more poetic, lyrical or artsy.  This works on occasion, especially in certain short stories.  They can add an extra layer to a place or feel and in piece that is supposed to be mostly imagery it is necessary.  Unfortunately I have found that certain authors, especially first timers use these types of words to over describe everything, or make a book...I don't know...more that a word?  To use these over the top phrases takes skill and restraint, and an author who can successfully pull it off is rare and amazing. Mostly though when used improperly you come across as overly pretentious.

Repeat Words - Lot's of authors (myself included I am sure) find a word or turn of phrase and get stuck on it.  I see this in everything from first time writers, to established authors to your local book bloggers.  Some writers stick it in ever other sentence, some spread it out in a more palatable manner, but I would say I could probably put together a list of authors and their favorite words and/or phrases (hmmm possible blog post).

Descriptive Words - These words are different then flowery words as in they are almost always adjectives.  These words when used appropriately are wonderful, necessary and can make a good book great.  On the other hand when over used can turn a great book into a tedious laundry list.  I have read books where every single outfit, piece of furniture and the physical description of every person in the room was detailed, and let me tell you BORING.  I also don't need every single landscape described to me in perfect detail, give me the general idea and only use the super descriptions on the things or people that need my attention.

Font Styles and Punctuation- I will be the first to admit that I suffer from this myself, I love ellipses...tee hee hee.  The occasional use of italics, Bold, Underline, or some combination can give some variation to a text, especially when they are used to delineate between characters.  The same goes with other punctuation (other then your normal grammatically correct stuff), but when any of these becomes over used, it just gets confusing.  Although I have seen this in every type of book, recent YA novels seem to be the biggest offenders, especially with the exclamation points!!!!

Simple Words - Some of my favorite books in the world utilize simple words and phrasing to produce a clean, beautiful read.  I think this is the hardest style of wording to use because it takes the skill of a master. Unfortunately I have read to many books that do not utilize the simple words as well as they could and the result reads as very stilted and juvenile.  As much as I love e-books and the ability to read authors that would never have gotten published by a major print outfit, I feel it has also led to a lot of wannabe's putting out stuff that hasn't had the benefit of an editor or even other people reading it resulting in a lot of the above misuse of the simple word.
I have seen all of the above examples used in both awesome ways and in ways that have driven me bonkers.  The words themselves and never good or bad, it is the way they are used and crafted that make a book what it is.  Words are tools, and some authors just know how to use them better then others.  I know that for good or bad, without words, I would be a sad person.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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