Liquid Gold Blog Series 9: Word Choices Matter

This is a specialized blog series I am posting about the process of publishing my next book from Inspiration to Publication. The working title is Liquid Gold and it is a sequel to my second novel Freedom’s Treasure which is available for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

As I’ve said before I am an unabashed news junky. I float daily between several different sites and I feel well informed on most subjects because of it. There are days when there are new stories consistently throughout the day and then there are the days when apparently nothing happens in the world. These are the days when I end up in the Living section of CNN or other sites.

Last week I reached one of those slow news days and I discovered an article that was titled “9 tips for eloping”. Immediately my brain went to the historical romance books I used to read regularly. Generally they took place in London in the mid 1800s. It was quite rare for the main characters to do the eloping thing but authors liked to add secondary characters who had to be stopped or encouraged to run off to Gretna Green or some other such place.

The rules for that seemed pretty easy to follow. It was always after midnight and the debonair young man would be waiting on the street with a fast horse and carriage to whisk his lady love away in the middle of the night after she risked life and limb climbing down an arbor or some other nonsense to reach his loving embrace. Obviously our lovers were young and impulsive, thus the late night get away.

So it was with enthusiasm that I opened the page. I was curious how it had changed, or how the idea had changed over the past 150 years. And how many of us young ladies dreamed of a man we loved so desperately that we would toss aside common sense and run away with them? Soooo romantic! Cue the dramatic sighs and swoons.

By the time I reached the second tip I realized this wasn’t about eloping, it was about planning a surprise or small/intimate wedding. The woman suggested sending out notices beforehand and letting friends and family know it was purposely being planned this way in order not to offend said friends and family.

“Don’t announce it out of the blue on Facebook” was on there but, um, isn’t that the whole point in eloping? To run off together, as a surprise, and come home with it as a fait accompli? There’s a city in Nevada that is specifically for these kinds of things.

“Check the local laws and be sure to get your wedding license in advance”. Well, if I do that I am essentially planning a wedding, yes?

The article annoyed me no end simply because of a poor word choice.

My sister planned a surprise wedding. From what I could tell she unknowingly followed this woman’s suggestions and it was perfect. But the two lovers didn’t elope.

One word could have changed the entire context of that article and that’s important to keep in mind as one is writing their novel/short story/poem. Sometimes the differences are small like between an incursion and an invasion. Sometimes the differences are huge such as a planned wedding and eloping.

There are times I struggle with a description. There may be a word on the tip of my tongue/brain but I can’t quite grasp it so I throw in a filler until my next read through where the word either comes to me or I find a smoother way to write the sentence in general. That’s not a bad thing.

First drafts are never the final draft. I’ve rewritten some chapters up to five times until I had it where I wanted it and from what I understand that number may be low for other writers.

So I implore you, my writer friends, especially those who are just starting out. Pay attention to your word usage. Don’t throw a 50 cent word in there you are pretty sure you know the definition or context of until you have double-checked with a dictionary or another chosen reference.

Side note: progress on this blog and Liquid Gold should begin again as I’m mostly healed from the accident in January. I apologize profusely for the long delay and hope you will bear with me as I get back into the swing of things.

Keep writing and reading, Java-mates!!

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