The Write Moves
Getting Picky about Words
Words are Gucci
Yes, that’s right, I said Gucci. And yes, I’m probably your parents’ age. But the fact that words like Gucci can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime is just what makes them so… well, Gucci! Words aren’t password-protected like your phone. And they don’t have a minimum height requirement like the rollercoaster ride at Coney Island. In fact, words have no rules. And that is why they rule!
Sure, there’s that thing out there called grammar that keeps words form getting too rambunctious at times. But take a word like Gucci all by itself, and guess what? You can do whatever you want with it! You can whisper it… shout it….graffiti it on your bedroom wall… post it on instagram…hang it upside down by its toenails… You get the point.
With a little creativity, you can even change a word’s meaning. Remember, up until like yesterday, Gucci was just an expensive brand of clothing. But now it’s also an adjective to describe all kinds of things, from sneakers to dance moves.
How Are Words Like Chameleons?
Chameleons, like the one in Chance Striker: One in a Million, show other animals what’s up by changing the color of their skin. Similarly, words have their own “skin tones” to express different meanings. For example, you may have a brother or sister at home who’s always pushing your buttons. Maybe the kid’s practicing tap dancing during your favorite t.v. show? Or passing gas on that long car ride home from grandma’s? Whatever they’re doing, you need to get them to stop. You start out by telling them you’re getting angry.
But pretty soon, you realize the word angry isn’t gonna cut it. So you take your word power up a notch and tell them they’re making you stinkin’ furious! Now that you’ve gone and thrown the adverb* stinkin’ in there, Mom and Dad’s ears start to perk up and they, hopefully, come to your rescue. See how by choosing your words more carefully you’ve gotten more people to listen to what’s on your mind?
Of course, you could take things a step further and start using some not-so-nice words that we won’t mention here in this blog. The point is, words have the power to express your true colors. So the next time you’ve got something important to say, remember to make like a chameleon, and to choose your words wisely.
*remember, an adverb describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb
Flex Your Word Muscles
So the next time you sit down to write, ask yourself what ideas or emotions you’re hoping to express. Instead of using words that have been overused and abused, spend a few seconds trying out new ones, and see what happens.
If you want to get good at soccer or any other sport, you need to exercise consistently and push yourself beyond what’s comfortable. Writing is the same way: If you want to be a strong writer, you need to exercise those word muscles everyday. For example, instead of saying, “That yodeling Walmart kid is funny,” (weak) you could try, “That yodeling Walmart kid is hilarious!” (stronger) See?
As a writer, you have the chance to show people things in different, exciting ways, depending on the language you choose. So the next time your teacher asks how your weekend was, instead of just answering “good,” how about telling him it was incomparable, stellar, delightful, or downright (there’s the powerful adverb again) awesome!
Need a Boost to Start?
Not too pumped about testing out new words? Or not sure where to start? Then try these awesome, extraordinary, life-changing, mind-boggling, stupendous (Notice how I didn’t say “cool?”) activities that are sure to get your words doing the floss dance in no time!
Start a Word Collection
When I was a kid, I collected lots of things… coins, stickers, smurf figures… (Yes, I know: “nerd alert”). How about collecting a list of words you like? For example, I adore the word buttery to describe something soft. (As in, “This leather handbag is so buttery– I just have to have it!”) Keep the list on your wall or in your phone for a week and see if any of the words can make it into your writing.
Use an Online Thesaurus
The next time you have a writing assignment for school, shock your teacher by adding a bunch of synonyms to replace the words you’d normally use. Your teacher won’t know what hit him! But beware: Your writing might be so amazing, he might even accuse you of plagiarism.*
*Don’t know what that is? Look it up in an online dictionary!