LOL, My Bad, Ain’t Y’all Busted?

You’re a writer. Don’t be a jargon-peddling, slang-spewing, colloquialism-bantering quibbler….because your readers just might give up on you. How do you avoid those things? Start by figuring out what they are…

Jargon (type of shorthand between a closed group): See examples.

    • Code Eight – Term that means officer needs help immediately
    • SCOTUS – Supreme Court of the United States
    • LOL – Laugh out loud
    • NPO – A patient should not take anything by mouth

Slang (casual language; playful and trendy): See an article on the why-nots.

    • My bad
    • Busted
    • Bromance
    • Supersize

Colloquialism (words that are region-specific): See the definition.

    • Reckon
    • Yonder
    • Ain’t
    • Y’all

With these now safely under your belt of understanding, your readers will thank you. Go forth, dear writer!

Find the Word, and Magic…!

[found on tameri.com]

“We believe the greater the vocabulary, the more concise the writing. Unfortunately, readers might not understand what you write. The definitions for some words listed are not the “common” meanings; we have chosen to focus on the words and meanings used to impress audiences.

Serious readers enjoy new words and writers love using the rare greats. Reading teaches vocabulary as we study context at all levels: elemental grammar, plot, setting, and more. Readers thrill at the discovery of new words; writers should thrill at using them wisely. There is more to words than winning at Scrabble™.”

Example of what you’ll find on their site:

abrogate (v) – void, do away with, repeal

abscond (v) – to depart secretly

abstemious (adj) – moderate in consumption

brook (v) – to endure, tolerate

bucolic (adj) – rustic, pastoral, natural; simple

celerity (n) – speed, rapidity

censure (v) – to rebuke officially

chary (adj) – wary, cautious

diffuse (adj) – spread out, wide-ranging; using too many words

dilate (v) – expand

dilatory (adj) – delaying

enervate (v) – to weaken, to drain, to take vitality from

engender (v) – to create, to produce, to cause

feign (v) – to pretend, act, deceive

fervent (adj) – emotional; zealous

fester (v) – ulcerate; rankle. festering (v)

garner (v) – gather, store up

garrulity (n) – talkativeness

impervious (adj) – resistant, strong, incapable of being affected

impalpable (adj) – imperceptible, intangible

jejune (adj) – poor; unsatisfying

jetsam (n) – object tossed overboard to lighten a ship

kinematic (adj) – relating to motion

knavery (n) – untrustworthiness; lack of principles

libidinous (adj) – lustful

licentious (adj) – sexually immoral

mellifluous (adj) – sweet like/as honey

mendacious (adj) – dishonest. mendacity (n)

nebulous (adj) – vague, cloudy, murky; lacking form

neologism (n) – a new word or usage

neophyte (n) – convert; beginner, novice

obfuscate (v) – to make confusing; to mislead

objurgate (v) – to scold

paucity (n) – scarcity; lack

pedagogue (n) – narrow-minded teacher

quaff (v) – to drink; to quench thirst

qualm (n) – misgiving, reservation

refutation (n) – disproof of opponents arguments

reciprocal (adj) – mutual, shared, exchanged in kind

sanction (n/v) – permission, authorized; a penalty

sanguine (adj) – cheerful; hopeful

sapient (adj) – wise; shrewd

taciturn (adj) – silent; not fond of talking

tantamount (adj) – equivalent in effect or value

taut (adj) – tight, tense

ubiquitous (adj) – everywhere, widespread

ulterior (adj) – unstated; hidden

venerate (v) – to respect. veneration (n)

veracity (n) – truthfulness, honesty

wangle (v) – bring about by manipulation

welter (n/v) – turmoil; to roll, to tumble

xenophobe (n) – one afraid of strangers

xyloid (adj) – like wood

yammer (v) – to talk with a sad tone

zymotic (adj) – of fermentation; caused by disease”

 

[found on http://www.tameri.com/write/coolenglish.html]

Fiction Writing Tips

[found on writingforward.com; by Melissa Donovan]

“The writing tips below focus on the technical and creative writing process rather than the business end of things….

    1. Read more fiction than you write.
    2. Don’t lock yourself into one genre (in reading or writing). Even if you have a favorite genre, step outside of it occasionally so you don’t get too weighed down by trying to fit your work into a particular category.
    3. Dissect and analyze stories you love from books, movies, and television to find out what works in storytelling and what doesn’t.
    4. Remember the credence of all writers: butt in chair, hands on keyboard.
    5. Don’t write for the market. Tell the story that’s in your heart.
    6. You can make an outline before, during, or after you finish your rough draft. An outline is not necessary, nor is it written in stone, but it can provide you with a roadmap, and that is a mighty powerful tool to have at your disposal.
    7. You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try.
    8. Some of the best fiction comes from real life. Jot down stories that interest you whether you hear them from a friend or read them in a news article.
    9. Real life is also a great source of inspiration for characters. Look around at your friends, family, and coworkers. Magnify the strongest aspects of their personalities and you’re on your way to crafting a cast of believable characters.
    10. Make your characters real through details. A girl who bites her nails or a guy with a limp will be far more memorable than characters who are presented with lengthy head-to-toe physical descriptions.”

For more tips from Melissa Donovan, click here.

[found on http://www.writingforward.com/writing-tips/42-fiction-writing-tips-for-novelists]

Lean Writing Is Strength

[found on entrepreneur.com; by Susan Gunelius]

“As Mark Twain famously wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” His point? Strong writing is lean writing.

When you want to make your writing more powerful, cut out words you don’t need–such as the 10 included in this post:

1. Just: The word “just” is a filler word that weakens your writing. Removing it rarely affects meaning, but rather, the deletion tightens a sentence.

2. Really: Using the word “really” is an example of writing the way you talk. It’s a verbal emphasis that doesn’t translate perfectly into text. In conversation, people use the word frequently, but in written content it’s unnecessary. Think about the difference between saying a rock is “hard” and “really hard,” for example. What does the word add? Better to cut it out to make your message stronger.

3. Very: Everything that applies to “really” applies to “very.” It’s a weak word. Cut it.

4. Perhaps/maybe: Do you want your audience to think you’re uncertain about what you’re saying? When you use words like “maybe” and “perhaps,” uncertainty is exactly what you’re communicating.

5. Quite: When someone uses “quite,” he or she either means “a bit” or “completely” or “almost.” Sometimes the word adds meaning; sometimes it’s fluff. Learn to tell the difference–but, when in doubt, cut it out. 

6. Amazing: The meaning of “amazing” is causing great wonder or surprise–but some writers use the word so often that the meaning gets lost. How can something be amazing if everything is? Ditch this diluted word.

7. Literally: When something is true in a literal sense, you don’t have to add the word “literally.” The only reason it makes sense to use the word is when it clarifies meaning (i.e., to explain you aren’t joking when it seems you are).

8. Stuff: Unless you are aiming at informality, don’t use the word “stuff.” It’s casual, it’s generic, and it usually stands in for something better.

9. Things: Writers use the word “things” to avoid using a clearer, more specific word that would communicate more meaning. Be specific. Don’t tell us about the “10 things,” tell us about the “10 books” or “10 strategies.” Specificity makes for better writing.

10. Got: Think of all the ways we use the vague word “got” in conversation: “I’ve got to go,” “I got a ball,” or “I got up this morning.” Though it’s fine for conversation, in writing, “got” misses valuable opportunities. Rather than writing a lazy word, look for clearer, more descriptive language: “I promised I’d leave by 9,” “I picked up a ball,” or “I woke up today,” for example.

Whether you’ve been writing for a few days or for many years, you’ll benefit from evaluating the words you use. Cut the filler to make your writing stronger.”

[found on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229369]

Vocabulary? Can’t I just write how I talk?

[found on time4writing.com]

“Why is a Strong Vocabulary Important?

We use spoken and written words every single day to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions to those around us. Sometimes we communicate successfully, and sometimes we’re not quite so successful. “That’s not what I meant!” becomes our mantra (an often repeated word or phrase). However, a good vocabulary can help us say what we mean.

For example, let’s say that you are outside in your yard and see a large black car stop in the road. You can see four tinted windows on one side of the car, and you assume there are four tinted windows on the other side, too. Just then, the driver’s door opens, and a man wearing white gloves steps out. He walks to the back of the car and looks underneath. He shrugs his shoulders, climbs back into the car, and drives away. After you remember to close your mouth, which has been hanging open, you run next door to tell your friend what you saw. What do you say? If you know a couple of key words, you can quickly explain to this person what you saw. Instead of describing the number of windows and the length of the car, you could simply say that you saw a black limousine (a long, luxurious car). Then, instead of describing the man with the white gloves, you could say you saw the chauffeur (someone paid to drive a car or limousine) walk to the back of the car. Knowing these key words can help you quickly and effectively communicate your meaning.

When you’re faced with a writing assignment, a good vocabulary is an indispensable (very important or necessary) tool. If you have several synonyms (words with similar meanings) in your repertoire (“toolbox”), you’ll be able to choose the best word for the job. Avoid vague words like “stuff” or “things” when you write. These words do not give the reader a good sense of your meaning. Also, use strong verbs that give the reader good information.

Here’s an example:

    • POOR: People do a lot of things.
    • BETTER: People perform a lot of tasks.

Work on building your vocabulary so that you can choose the stronger, more descriptive words in your writing.

You may also want to vary your vocabulary depending on your audience. Are you writing for children? Then stick with simpler words. Are you writing for college students? Then pull the more difficult words out of your “toolbox” to avoid talking down to them. It’s important to consider your audience when writing.

You may also find it difficult to choose the best word for a sentence when you’re writing. If you have a strong vocabulary, these choices will be easier!”

For more great tips on writing from Time4Writing, click HERE.

[found on http://www.time4writing.com/writing-resources/vocabulary]