Saturday, February 25, 2012

Inventive Words

During my editing, I've come across a helpful tool in a book I have titled, The Writer's little Helper.

It's called Inventive words.

Use specific words. Ask yourself if your words are specific enough to identify what you want the reader to see as a mental image.

Automatic words are tired, first-draft words borrowed from pop culture. They say two kids on the phone for an hour burn no more than 100 vocabulary words. Boring.

Literal words are also first-draft words, the ordinary language in chit-chat. Men are big, women are pretty. Such words are useless and boring. Your readers yawn and yearn for more description.

Concrete words lift you to where you begin inventing words. When your written words plant a picture in a head, you become a creative writer.

You need to take automatic and literal words and harden them into concrete so your readers see the image.

Using specific words helps you distinguish people, places and things from every other person,  place or thing. You create distinctive pictures on your pages. Colors come to life. You now have moss green eyes or mud the color of chestnuts after a rain storm.

I used my Find button to locate these boring places in my manuscript and try to make them more concrete and specific.

I now have a turquoise Impala and candy apple red pick up truck as opposed to a boring car.
Eyes are like hazelnuts floating above a sea of freckles.
My dog is now a cute beagle.
My food is now more specific.
Etc. Etc. I think you get the idea.

I have also gotten rid of a lot of its! My lands I never knew "it" was in such plentiful supply in my manuscript.

Now go and invent new and specific words in your manuscript and make it a less boring read.
Of course, I am  sure most of you do this already,  but it doesn't hurt to use that
find button and check it out.

Happy Editing!

Posted by Janet Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch
©Janet F. Smart


  1. Janet,
    I learn something new every time I open my manuscript to work on it.
    This last go round I found a proofreader on my application that I use to create documents. It is wonderful. It pointed out all my - as soon as - and a bunch of other phrases I didn't know I used. As well as.
    Etc etc etc. I got rid of all of those for the Kindle version of my book and it reads so much better.
    I'm now going thru one last time. So sick of it by now.
    Hope all is well with you. Thanks for this post.

  2. Yay for YOU! You are polishing your prose. The more we write, the more we learn. I learn every single day.

  3. I love my Find button - it is a HUGE help when I'm editing! :)

  4. Find and replace is such a huge help to me, especially when it comes to my crutch words--just, could, would, thought, hand, smile, turn, look...all those terrible words that I have way too many of. :)

  5. I don't know what I'd do without my find button, either. I tend to use smile a lot and just and old and it. I could go on and on.

  6. Oh yes, I love my Find button. :-) This makes me want to go check my

  7. Wow so glad I dropped in for a visit today. I follow your other blog and now I follow this one.
    Can't wait to learn more about this and use it.
    I am boring with my words.
    Thanks for the info

  8. Hi Maggie. I use Word to write my manuscripts. At the top click on edit and a list of options will come down. Find will be one of the options. Click on it and a box comes up to type in the word you want to find in your manuscript. You can then replace the word, leave it or delete it.

  9. My find button helps me to find all those ugly 'was' words I love to use so much. Ack! They're everywhere. :-)


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