Throughout a quiet, overcast autumn day, when gray clouds lay soft and low in the sky, I had been enjoying a solitary ride through an unremarkable expanse of countryside, and after a time found myself, as twilight faded to velvet dusk, within view of the unhappy House of Usher.
The first passage, from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” demonstrates that writer’s ability to set the stage for a classic Gothic story of decay and madness.
Speaking the words you’ve written is a great way to bring all the hidden effects of your word choices to the surface.
Note the difference in mood in the following passages, both of which essentially describe the same scene: During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
Whenever you write, carefully examine your word choices to make sure you are using the best word for the job.
Beyond the dictionary definition of a word lies its deeper meaning(s).
The length, complexity and sound of a word all contribute to its connotation.
The dictionary defines connotation as “the suggestion of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes.” It’s because of these subtle shades of meaning that word choice is such an important element of creative writing.
What happens when you reveal a character’s personality chronologically?
You’ve no doubt been warned about the weakness of the passive voice.