WORDS – AND MORE WORDS:
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.
HOW TO FIND IDEAS FOR NOVELS?
I have been asked by many people where ideas come from that can be turned into a 300-400
If you have a problem it’s a good idea to start of with a ‘What If’. What if you walked into an apartment block and found that every person there was dead? Would that not make the beginning of a good story?
What if you entered your house to find a parcel sitting on a chair? You don’t know where it has come from – or more seriously – who delivered it! You examine it suspiciously; then open it carefully. What might be inside? (You now let your imagination run free to discover what you come up with.)
A mysterious and beautiful young woman comes into your village and buys the most expensive house in the entire place. Yet she seems very sad. After weeks of observing her you decide to approach her. Now what? (Sit down and start to write and see where your imagination takes you.)
This you tube interview might help here for further ideas:
I HAVE BEEN ASKED BY MANY PEOPLE WHERE IDEAS COME FROM THAT CAN BE TURNED INTO A 300-400 PAGE NOVEL?
IT’S A GOOD IDEA, IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM OF FINDING IDEAS, TO START OFF WITH A ‘WHAT IF’.
WHAT IF YOU WALKED INTO AN APARTMENT BLOCK AND FOUND THAT EVERY PERSON THERE WAS DEAD? WOULD THAT NOT MAKE THE BEGINNING OF A GOOD STORY?
WHAT IF YOU ENTERED YOUR HOUSE TO FIND A PARCEL SITTING ON THE HALL TABLE? YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM OR WHO DELIVERED IT. YOU EXAMINE IT SUSPICIOUSLY THEN OPEN IT CAREFULLY. WHAT MIGHT BE INSIDE? (YOU NOW LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN FREE AND SEE WHAT YOU COME UP WITH.)
TWICE YOU HAVE SEEN A MYSTERIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL WOMAN. SHE IS NEW TO YOUR VILLAGE. SHE RENTS THE LARGEST HOUSE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VILLAGE AND SEEMS TO JUST SIT THERE IN A ROCKING-CHAIR WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE A GREAT SADNESS ABOUT HER. ONE DAY YOU DECIDE TO APPROACH HER. NOW WHAT? SIT DOWN AND START TO WRITE AND AGAIN LET YOUR IMAGINATION TAKE FIRE.
I HOPE THESE FEW IDEAS HELP SOME PEOPLE.
RECENTLY I DID A YOU TUBE INTERVIEW ON THIS THAT MIGHT HELP A LITTLE MORE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43iAYmpc38U
Best regards – Patrick.
On a number of occasions I have been interviewed on writing. Always the question arises – where does the writing come from?
Others have told me that they too have had the same question put to them. And, I suppose, it should be no surprise. It is the most fundamental questions for writers:how can someone sit down with a blank page and two years later have 400 pages of a story?
Some claim that they write nothing for months until the story is fully formed in their heads. At that point they go off to a solitary location and write with fury, producing the story in a matter of Amazon weeks. I suspect this way of approaching writing is rare. You may not agree.
Others claim that they rough-out a detailed structure and a description of all characters before they attempt to start on ‘the real thing’. This approach has never worked for me.
I suspect, for most of us, we simply sit down and start to write page after page of pure rubbish. But, out of this, ideas begin to form and finally harden into the possibility of a story. This act of ‘rubbish’ writing seems to be essential to get traction going under a story. At least, to writers that I have talked to, that appears to be the way for most of them.
In the writing of the thriller – Water Worms – half an idea formed for me while looking at a single drop of water dropping from the end of an icicle. Two years later I had a story of 280 pages. Maybe I need help!
So, don’t pass up the possibility of a ‘situation’ that might lead to a story. It might be a bag of money found on the side of a road or six people trapped by a snow storm in a house. Grab at it and write page after page of ‘rubbish’ until clarity, in what you are attempting, comes into clearer focus.
I hope that something here might help those who are now experiencing writer’s blockage. One or two of these ideas might help to clear away the log jam and get the pen moving again. At least I hope so.
Comments would be welcome.
BEST REGARDS – Patrick