Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On Passionate Writing . . .

The difference between
the almost right word
and the right word
is really a large matter -

it's the difference between the lightning bug
and the lightning. 
~Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton, 1888
(Thanks, Andrew & Barbara)
Do you keep a dictionary and theasauras
close by while writing?
What gives you pause when writing,
when you know the right word is there-just not on paper yet? 
How do you find the "right" word?
For that matter, what is the right word when we're penning a sentence?
How do we know we've found it?
To me, several ways:
The feeling I get when reading the sentence.
As papa bear says in the Bearenstein Bear books:
Looks right.
Sounds right.
Must be right.
Of course papa bear wasn't always right.
And sometimes we won't be either.
But when the word sizzles in our brain,
warms our insides,
glides across our tongue,
goosebumps our arms,
we can count on our gut-reaction.
We've found our word.
And then, there's the confirmation we get when a critique partner
or a friend,
or an editor reads that sentence
and we get a positive response from them:
smiley faces, "I like that," or comments,
we can rest assured, we've found the right word.
That, my friends, is passionate writing.
Finding and knowing the right words.

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