The Right Word

I’m always so impressed with writers who construct amazing sentences comprised of exactly the right words. I try to do this with my own writing, but know it’s a talent that needs much developed. I recently asked my writing friend Kim Davis, who writes beautiful poetry, for advice on polishing my word-choice skills. She had some simple advice.

She told me that she carried around “a fat red book called The Synonym Finder” and uses it to test out different words, honing in on the very perfect choice. So I ordered the book and when it arrived yesterday, I had to laugh. Kim said it was fat, but I wasn’t prepared for how fat! Two-and-a-half inches to be exact. It must weigh a couple of pounds. I suppose in this day and age of Kindles and the Internet, where the content of a book is as thin as a webpage, this fat red book seems huge. But I’ll be bringing it along with me to my favorite writing spot and also to Provincetown later this month, where I’ll be attending a workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center. May have to bring along some Aleve, too, for any subsequent back pain.

How do you find the right words?

7 Comments on “The Right Word”

  1. Tracy, I got my first copy of the “Synonym Finder” 25 years ago and have used it on virtually every article or short story I have ever written (many hundreds if not thousands). It never fails to spark a better word, a clearer thought, or entirely new sentences and ideas. The battered gray volume, in the original hardcover, sits open on a rack on my desk and never leaves my side. You will love it.

      • You’re welcome! I’m happy to see that you have made a commitment to your writing–blogs are a good trick for doing that. I talked my wife, Danuta, into starting a blog two years ago and she has really thrived on it. She’s pretty far into her second novel now (first one published last year), but as you can see the blank page remains daunting:

      • Congrats Dan. I didn’t know you were married! I checked out your wife’s blog and have subscribed to it. I’ll read her short stories. Wonderful stuff!

  2. You are kind. She will appreciate that.
    As you know, I’m very in favor of marriage, which is why I keep doing it. šŸ˜‰ This one’s for keeps.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: