In my last post I wrote about the fact that I seem to be blessed with lots of ideas at the moment for writing different stories. Many of my ideas come from seeds taken from other stories or ideas that I read about from the wonderful blogs that are out there. The trouble is that the more I write the more I seem to doubt any ability that I might have.
One of the problems is reading other people’s work and then beginning to wonder if your own work needs to be more flowery. I sometimes wonder whether or not I should be using bigger words! Then I read Stephen King’s book – ‘On Writing’ – a great read. He comes up with a number of heartening ideas, such as:
One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.
What a great thought – being ashamed of short words! I think that might be my problem. When you think about it it makes sense – when we talk to one another our purpose is to get some sort of message across, rarely are you trying to score points with the other person, trying to see who can come up with the most complicated words. Stephen King goes on to say:
Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with another word – of course you will, there’s always another word – but it probably wont be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean.
One of the reasons that I keep going back to this book is because it makes me feel much more comfortable with my own writing. Whenever I write a story, however long or short (more recently they have mainly been short!) I feel that I am trying to tell a story. I try to use words that I would if I was actually telling the story. It would be quite easy to draft out a story then grab a thesaurus and change as many words as possible. The problem is that it would then cease to be my words. It would be a story written by a thesaurus!
I will leave you with this idea:
Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story ….. to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all.
I think that I will put back on the shelf the dictionary that I have just dusted off. Instead I will stick with the words that I think best tell the story I have written down.