16 January 2007

Means something like...

A glimpse into Word Nerd's morning of writing and why word choice matters.

Please complete the following sentence:

This move back into the family apartments was nothing short of ___________.

Have a word in mind? Good. Focus on that word.

Now, step back. Word Nerd got as far as the "of" in that sentence and went, Huh. Just what was the move like. And what word fits the voice of my narrator? Horrendous? Awful? Stupendous? Lousy?

Word Nerd got out her handy-dandy thesaurus. Horrendous: horrible, frightful, terrible. Nope, none of those. She tried "grievous." Grievous had lots of choices, one of which led her to "outrageous." Likewise, "outrageous" had lots of synonyms. She even had to get out her dictionary to look up "contumelious." (She didn't pick that word, just in case you're wondering. This is a story, not an SAT vocab test prep book.)

Word Nerd's picked her word to fill in the blank, but isn't quite sure it's the one she wants. Words, of course, have meanings and shades and she wants to be sure she's conveying the right sentiment, which ever one she picks.

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