Paula looks at the words we use.
Language is the tool of the writer. All right, that’s
stating the obvious. Or is it? All writers use words, but
they don’t necessarily explore the richness of the English language. A poor or
limited choice of words can make for weak writing; well-chosen words strengthen
It is worth taking the time to be selective in your choice of
words. Personally I enjoy searching for the right word for the action or image
or emotion I’m trying to convey. Sometimes, when writing a first draft, I’ll
choose a word that I know isn’t exactly right, and highlight it, so that when I
get to the editing stage, I can search my brain (or the thesaurus!) for the
At the same time, I admit to a dislike of what I call ‘flowery’
language, littered with too many adjectives, adverbs, similes and metaphors. Some
writers tend to go overboard with these, maybe thinking this improves the ‘literary’
quality of their work, whereas simpler writing can often be far more effective.
However, language isn’t just a matter of selecting the right words. It’s also the way in which you put those words together. It’s the
style, flow and cadence of your writing – your own individual and unique voice.
Writers sometimes ask how they can ‘find’ their voice, when all the time it is
there within them. Of course, it may change over time, and hopefully it improves
as you continue to develop your writing skills.