‘Vocabulary’ – #AtoZ Challenge

I haven’t been well the last couple of days so I’m catching up on the challenge today. I’ll post my entry for ‘W’ a little later on 🙂

th-1.jpegSince I’ve started writing more flash fiction, I’ve become aware of the importance of using the right vocabulary. The pieces which win flash competitions tend to be those containing images that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading, and although it’s important as a writer to have a wide vocabulary, what matters more is the ability to use the most appropriate word which will enable the reader to truly ‘see’ the image or scene.

I always keep a ‘word bank’ of words and phrases that I particularly like, but when I first started writing, I used to chuck in words that I thought sounded good – the kinds of words that I thought would impress the reader. However, I quickly learned that this was the worst thing I could do. The most important thing when writing creatively is to be able to tell a story and by using a word that’s likely to be unfamiliar to the reader, all this will do is stem the flow of reading, and in effect break the connection between writer and reader as they’ll have to stop to look the word up in a dictionary.

In order to expand my vocabulary and add effective words to my word bank, I write down any that I’ve come across in short stories and flash fiction pieces that resonated with me. In particular, I look out for onomatopoeia and vivid verbs. I also read and re-read good examples of figurative language such as particularly apt metaphors and similes. I think about why they work so well and after which, try to create my own.

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4 thoughts on “‘Vocabulary’ – #AtoZ Challenge

  1. I need to do something like that. I don’t write fiction, but when I write blog posts and the like, I find I use the same words over and over again. I really need to find a way to incorporate more vocabulary in my writing without, as you say, going over people’s heads. How do you organize your word lists and know where to locate a word you might want to use in a story? Is there a method you use?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Amanda, my lists tend to be a little disorganised although I usually split them into verbs, nouns, adjectives and I might highlight some onomatopoeia and vivid verbs. I tend to feel that through reading you will naturally acquire vocabulary although it may take a while to actively use it. I think I read somewhere that you need to see a word twelve times before you use it. I try to look through my lists regularly to help that process..

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