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?

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7 thoughts 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.

  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.

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