On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Word Choice -- Connotation

Even in rough drafts and using **, I hesitate regading word choice. I've used a word too often or the work has a water theme and I try for a water word instead of a fire (desire flooded her, not desire swept through her like wildfire).

At critique a couple of years ago, none of us had the reaction that the writer wanted to a scene emotionally, the meeting between the hero of the previous book and his black-sheep brother, the hero of this book. Both men were supposed to be sympathetic, of course. We talked all about this, and it finally came down to one word. "Smirk."

She had a different connotation of the word "smirk," than all the rest of us.

Judging a contest a while back I read something about "the cobalt sky." Well, a couple of previous sentences had indicated that it was a gray, wintry day, snowing even. So I looked "cobalt" up because I always think of it as a vivid blue. It can mean blue or gray, however, I believe that most people think of "cobalt" as that blue.

Naturally, having to look the word up in the dictionary pulled me out of the story, and it also made me wonder about trusting the writer. Would (s)he use other words I thought I knew the meaning of but (s)he meant something else? Would I get the meaning?

So word choice is an important technique: to be clear, to be evocative, to get the response you want from the reader.

May you find all the right words for your writing today.


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