Every word holds an essence of magic because it conveys a message, which is then left with the recipient to interpret. The way it is understood can vary by association to the context it is placed within, known as a sentence. Then evolving into greater affordability of clarity or confusion when placed within a paragraph. Its simplicity exists in its singularity, and complexity evolves with the binding association with other words.
Welcome to the English language where you can have a word, which sounds the same but is spelt different and holds completely different meanings. What word springs to mind for you? For me, it has always been ‘there and their’ as a classic go to example. Still, I’m not here to brow beat the obvious. It’s the less evident, which holds my current interest. In particular, under utilized words within the English language.
When I set out to write my fantasy five series (Soliloquy’s Labyrinth) I made an agreement with myself. I won’t hold back how I think, what I feel nor will I deny the use of my reasonably extensive vocabulary. I like words. I enjoy knowing about their origins and can sometimes find myself heading down a rabbit warren exploring the history of some words for the pure fact that it tells a story. To me, this is key, each word on its own has a story to tell, and none of it can be conveyed without the assistance of other words. I find it to be a beautiful symbol of interconnection. Words are utterly dependent on one another.
‘Thesaurus: Is it a friend or foe?’
A friend of mine called me the other day to make a request. She said that she loved reading Illuminarium (Book One), but she wanted me to stop using words ‘normal’ people like her didn’t know. Then she proceeded to try to pronounce the word soliloquy which led to her swearing and both of us laughing. This conversation also happened to coincide with me noting a reviewer had issued a comment on the same book suggesting they imagined the author was sitting beside a thesaurus when Illuminarium was written.
“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” ― Confucius
We’re all different. I get it. I can also appreciate where these comments are stemmed from, which made me ask myself the question; Are the words I use within my writing too complex? I guess there is no one perfect response to this, which would suffice because it depends on the person reading the books. It therefor becomes a question, which could only be honored by a subjective answer. Knowing this, I pondered whether there is a need to temper my use of vocabulary to accommodate those who have not developed a more extensive knowledge base of the language. This is where it got interesting.
If I were inclined to limit the words used to more commonly known terms and definitions, how far would I need to go and what would be the benchmark I could use to execute such a request? I actually don’t believe there is a way to have this done without creating a survey to obtain a reference point for what the average knowledge base within a given populous is. Regardless, I’m not even remotely inclined to alter my writing style or the words I select to use within it. Primarily because if I did, then it wouldn’t be reflective of me, my work, my joy and celebration of expressing the story through the diverse access I have to descriptive language.
“There is a breadth of marvels awaiting to fuel your imagination. Never stop learning.” ― Truth Devour
I use the dictionary to ensure I have placed certain words within the right context and sure sometimes I use a thesaurus to stimulate my extension of words more for assistance in developing a level of texture and depth to the writing. What is the use of having access to a full color palette and limiting yourself to only a few shades? When I write I crave the full rainbow spectrum of words to be spread with descriptive color across my pages, so that it eloquently carries what I am wanting to convey in my stories.
Oscar Wilde said it best: Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. Creative expression to me holds no room for compromise if it is set to be a reflection of oneself. When I don’t know a word, I look it up and learn about it. If I like the word, I’II go out of my way to place it in a sentence or tell someone about it. I guess this is part of who I am, and it is clearly reflected within aspects of my writing.
Tis what it is.
Blessings – Truth Devour
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