Struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? So do I, sometimes. Maybe, in trying to improve my own work, I can help you.
Today’s words: Yawning, Yell loudly, You only live once, Youth
Synonyms are alternative words that might say exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Yawning: Roget’s lists these sub-headings; deep, opening, sleepy. Under ‘sleepy’ are another 34 suggestions including tired, half-asleep, somnolent, drowsy, and nodding.
Usage for Yawning:
Yawning can be used as an adjective, describing a deep hole or space. It is also used as a verb indicating the mouth movement that demonstrates boredom or tiredness. For the former, it’s now reached the stage of a cliché, so less frequently used adjectives like cavernous, or vast might serve better here. However, avoiding the adjective by showing the space through activity or emotional response could be more effective, depending on the mood you’re trying to convey.
When describing sleepiness, ‘yawning’ can come too readily to mind, so it will often be more effective to use words conveying the reason for the yawns of your character(s), whether due to stuffiness of the location, dullness of subject matter, or simple lack of sleep. Look for different ways of expressing the action to make your writing more effective.
Redundancies: words serving no purpose. In speech they’re spacers, giving the speaker time to think. But in writing they slow the reader’s progress.
We know that to yell is to shout loudly, so using ‘loudly’ after it, is a waste of space and a pointless interruption to the pace of your story. Best avoided. Let you character yell without restrictions.
Cliché: a stereotyped or hackneyed expression; a phrase, opinion or other element of language that’s so overused it no longer holds power. However, clichés come into being as the result of their original and effective ability to describe a situation or quality in apposite terms. Their use should be sparing: in dialogue, they’re fine, providing the speaker would use them. They are words or expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…Here, I could use a cliché to illustrate what a cliché might be.
You only live once:
A statement of the obvious: only dreamers of reincarnation, and James Bond creators, are deluded into believing we have more than one life. Unless this is being spoken by a character, and is in keeping with that character’s personality, this phrase is best avoided. If we’re trying to emphasise the unique fact of a life, or its importance, or using the expression to suggest a threat that might end existence, there are more imaginative ways of saying these things.
And, my own, sometimes humorous, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes controversial, definitions of some common words for your entertainment, which I’ll list under The Delusional Dictionary.
Youth: a person younger than the individual criticising them; someone with endless energy; an individual incapable of waking before noon; a fool; someone who speaks before thinking; anyone with more energy than the person observing them.
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