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bluntforcetrauma
02-13-2008, 11:27 PM
We all know 'it pays to increase your word power', but I feel sometimes authors toss in words that just don't fit. You'll be reading along a concrete line, then here's a big fat old abstract monster staring you down. It's not a matter of knowing meaning. It's a matter of interrupting an otherwise fun read.

Lauri B
02-13-2008, 11:34 PM
So what is your point or your question? Why do authors use words that don't fit? Could you provide an example?

Potluck
02-13-2008, 11:41 PM
I wrote Hurlyburly yesterday and it fits nicely. Plus, whoever reads it might geta kick out of the word being used in something other than Shakespeare.

It would be a real shame to force the reader to learn some new words. (that was sarcasm)

Hurlyburly - the word just roles around like the turbulence it represents.

Dragon-lady
02-14-2008, 12:43 AM
I once wrote that something added a certain fillip to a situation which I considered a perfectly ordinary thing to say and a couple of my readers had a hissy-fit demanding if it was really a word and if it was WHY was I using it. LOL

Ziljon
02-14-2008, 12:54 AM
I'm fond of mephitic ooze.

Daehota
02-14-2008, 01:01 AM
I do it in conversation and I must say that not everyone enjoys it when I get on a professorial bent. The problem is that the word I have chosen may be perfectly acceptable, but not necessarily appropriate for my listener.

bluntforcetrauma
02-14-2008, 01:18 AM
So what is your point or your question? Why do authors use words that don't fit? Could you provide an example?

I would, but the words escape me at this present time. :poke:

bluntforcetrauma
02-14-2008, 01:20 AM
I do it in conversation and I must say that not everyone enjoys it when I get on a professorial bent. The problem is that the word I have chosen may be perfectly acceptable, but not necessarily appropriate for my listener.

Last time I used 'meretricious', I had to explain what it meant. You don't use those words around here.

Paichka
02-14-2008, 08:13 AM
Oh I LOVE 2 dollar words.

Effluvia. Palimpsest. Moiety. Thaumaturge.

If it fits, wonderful. If not, find something smaller that does the job equally well. Thesaurus.com is my friend. :) Not every story can support words like that. Some stories though (China Mieville's Perdido Street Station comes to mind) almost require them.

Depends on the intended audience, I should think.

padnar
02-14-2008, 09:04 AM
I do not exactly what people want
wnen we write high language people say it is
colourful you should not use it and when we write
in simple style they will say this article has no language

Terran
02-14-2008, 10:46 AM
We all know 'it pays to increase your word power', but I feel sometimes authors toss in words that just don't fit. You'll be reading along a concrete line, then here's a big fat old abstract monster staring you down. It's not a matter of knowing meaning. It's a matter of interrupting an otherwise fun read.

What may be jarring to one reader, could make perfect sense to another.

Bartholomew
02-14-2008, 11:04 AM
I hate it when I use some common, everyday word, and everyone raises an eyebrow at me.

Like in journalism class, the teacher (who is brilliant at finding news, but ineloquent on matters concerning the construction of a sentence) was trying and failing to explain why a student needed to use were instead of was in a particular instance (the exact shape of which now eludes me).

I said, "You use 'were' because you need to be in the subjunctive mood."

At which point, one of my friends who is also in that class said, "Who the hell talks like that?"

:(

bluntforcetrauma
02-14-2008, 11:16 AM
At which point, one of my friends who is also in that class said, "Who the hell talks like that?"

:(

Precisely.;)

IceCreamEmpress
02-14-2008, 09:21 PM
I wrote Hurlyburly yesterday and it fits nicely. Plus, whoever reads it might geta kick out of the word being used in something other than Shakespeare.

Or the play of the same title by David Rabe, which was a hit on Broadway and the West End.

Mayntz
02-14-2008, 09:49 PM
I think it all matters as to the type of writing you're doing. If it's nonfiction work (newspapers, magazines, etc.), the vocabulary needs to be more appropriate for the prospective audience. If it's fiction work, it needs to be appropriate for the characters using it. Just using fancy words to sound like a "real author" -- a real author writes them properly, however they fit best, and fancy isn't always right.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-14-2008, 10:22 PM
We all know 'it pays to increase your word power', but I feel sometimes authors toss in words that just don't fit. You'll be reading along a concrete line, then here's a big fat old abstract monster staring you down. It's not a matter of knowing meaning. It's a matter of interrupting an otherwise fun read.


I know what you're talking about, Bluntforcetrauma. I've critiqued stories before that had such issues, and found the words to be eyesores instead of helpful to the story. They can take away from the 'flow' of the writing, which really throws me way off when reading.

I think the problem isn't whether or not the word works, so much as whether the word works for the author or not. Like the saying goes, 'To Each His Own'. So if something doesn't work for you, that might not reflect on whether it works for someone else.

I remember one critique I did, where the author said (and this is a paraphrase with the exception of the word itself), "Such-and-such character ghosted across the area."

Ghosted didn't work for me; the word 'spirited' would have been more to my taste. But to the author, who I must say is a pretty decent writer in her chosen genre, the word certainly had to have worked, or else she wouldn't have used it.

So basically, it's a matter of taste. What works for you might not work for me, and what works for me might be appalling to you. In writing, a lot of stuff is subjective, and I think this is simply a matter of personal opinion.


:)


--Sean