The average person uses no more than about 1,500 words. An extraordinary low number when laid beside the millions of words that are available to express oneself in the English language. 1,500 words  – come on!

But those who aspire to write MUST increase their choice of words far beyond that. Why? Because choosing the precise word for a particular situation is all important.

‘Incandescent rage’ carries a more weighty punch than ‘intense anger’. A preacher up on his clack-loft has a more interesting ring to it than a preacher up on his pulpit. An undertaker at his trade does not have the same grab of attention as the death hunter at his trade. 

There are strange words that, on first appearance, seem of little potential usage to a writer. One of these might be poonac. This is the material left after oil is crushed from coco-nut pulp. Great – but how could a writer use such a word in ‘normal’ writing?  Well, we might use it as follows – After his powerful argument we were left with nothing more but the damp poonac of our own ideas. I’m sure many of  you can come up with far better usage of that word to carry a meaning that is an alternative to many tired and well-worn expressions. The point I am trying to make here is that ALL words have the potential to express ideas in refreshing ways. And the writer must suck up many of these if he/she is to become easy in the job of a wordsmith.

So how does one increase one’s bag of words? One thing that works for me is that I keep a notebook and write down unfamiliar words I come across. When you find a word unfamiliar to you go to the dictionary and find the meaning. But something else too – write down a sentence with the word included.

Have an ambition to write down, each week, no more than say five words with their meaning. That does not sound too much – and it isn’t. But during that week learn those words – AND USE THEM IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY CONVERSATIONS. Speaking them out like that will help you to lock them into your daily usage and, more importantly, make them available to you when you sit down to write.

A blacksmith has dozens of tools he can pick from to create what he intends. A writer MUST have thousands of words to hand if he/she is to pick the one that is most suitable to convey a particular meaning.  This holds through whether you write in Italian or Portuguese, American-English or Japanese.

I hope that this might help a little those thinking of taking up writing.

Best regards.  Patrick.



Writers and writing:  How does a writer come up with an idea big enough to carry through to 300 pages of a novel.?

It is a common question that is often discussed among writers. People talk of the creative act. But I don’t think that that is it. It is the original idea, fragmented though it may be, that is the important catalyst to start the journey. The writer may have little idea where the idea may bring him or her – but that’s not important. That will come in time and that is where the creative bit comes in.

And two years later the work is finished and you ask yourself – how did I do that – and it closes again and remains a mystery.

This youtube interview may help in some of this. At least I hope it does. Patrick.

Creative Writing

One of the great difficulties for a writer is getting started. What am I going to write about? What can I write about? The first thing that you need is the kernel of an idea. Fine – but how do I get such a kernel?

The youtube interview here might help some:

A tragedy in this writing game is that many who aspire to be writers hit the wall around page 80. Why if should be around that time I cannot answer. But many find themselves incapable of getting beyond that point and give up. There must be hundreds of thousands of 80-page potential novels thrown into drawers by writers in despair.

All right so that is the way it was – THEN. But now is now. So how about opening those drawers again and hauling out your half-formed creations? With the passing of time and a sit down and a review of what you have written can give you new ideas on how to force the story beyond what had been blocking you in the past and you find yourself out into far clearer water.

I hope this piece of encouragement helps some to pick up their pens again.

Best Regards.  Patrick.

Writers and Writing


Some writers have difficulty in finding ideas that can be developed into full-blown novels. This short interview might help here.  At least I hope it does.

Type in on Google – Patrick McCusker interview on YouTube.

Best regards.