Monday, February 20, 2012

Word choice in writing

Funny coincidence. I just got back from the Austin SCBWI conference. It was a great one, as usual. One thing I kept hearing from editors and agents regarding manuscripts and query letters as well was:  (1) make your words count and (2) word choice. I get home and a recent Ingrid’s Notes blog post, “What’s Your Intent?” addressed the same subject. 

One agent at the conference said the following about query letters: Do not use empty words. Every word should bring up an image in the reader’s mind. Every word counts. Word choices are so important, not just in manuscripts but in query letters as well.

I like this word choice definition in on Wee Can Write: Using 6+1 Trait Writing Strategies with Renowned Children’s Literature blog

“Word choice is the use of rich, colorful, precise language that communicates not just in a functional way, but in a way that moves and enlightens the reader. In good descriptive writing, strong word choice paints pictures in the reader’s mind. In informational writing, strong word choice clarifies, explains, and expands ideas. In persuasive writing, strong word choice compels the reader to see things clearly and, sometimes to agree with the reader. Effective word choice is characterized not so much by exceptional vocabulary as by the ability to use everyday language naturally and in a fresh or unexpected way.”
Query: A letter that sells an idea to an editor or agent. Usually a query is brief (no more than one page) and uses attention-getting prose. – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

No comments:

Post a Comment