Greetings and Salutations loyal readers of the blog,
Today I will be paying homage to one member of my critique group. She will know who she is, but I will keep her name out of it for now. Among the many things I hear during our working sessions is, “Was is not a verb.” Because I don’t edit while I ‘m writing, I didn’t know how bad my use of was is. This past week I opened a short story I wrote some time ago. The story in question is 7,000 words over 22 pages. Was occurs 72 times. That’s 1% of all the words in the story. waswaswaswaswaswas. when you line them up they aren’t impressive are they? They are no more impressive when you sprinkle them throughout a piece. In fact they take a good story and water it down to the point that nothing sticks in the colander of your brain after you’ve read it.
To all the people I’ve asked to read those stories, professional and personal, I apologize for my laziness. I believe that the story is first and foremost the most important component of writing. That said, it is a grave injustice to seed a good story with poor word choices. I’d like to think I know better and yet after doing one simple word search I have to admit the evidence shows otherwise. Improvement is something I strive for every time I sit down to write. It would seem I have plenty of room for growth.
I pledge to do a better job in the future selecting words. There is no shortage of words to choose from. Leaving me with no defense. Slothfulness is my sin.
If you write, take heed of my dilemma and try not to fall into the trap of using the easy choice. Aim higher than what comes too easily. Language is the most important tool in the writer’s tool kit. Treat it with respect, oil it, sharpen it, and keep it close to hand. A well used tool fits comfortably in the hand of the craftsman who utilizes it often.
I’ll leave you with this quotation.
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order you can nudge the world.” Tom Stoppared