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Micki Peluso

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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WHAT'S IN A WORD
by Micki Peluso   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008

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This is an essay as a writing assignment.

                                      "What's in a Word?"
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"In the beginning was the word . . ."
John 1:1 King James Bible

Remember the childhood taunt, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me?" This is not true . The "Pen is mightier than the sword," and the complexity of language plays upon everyday living. It can be subtle,(my favorite) sarcastic, ironic, menacing, hateful, loving, instructive; the list is long. Ultimately words hurt much more than stones, because the scars from hurtful words do not heal.

Words make or break relationships, erase the tears of a crying child, soothe an aching heart, cheer on an athlete, or manipulate an enemy. Words are power and it is essential to learn to use them wisely and to understand the strength behind a simple word.

As applied to writing, proper word choice is critical to a successful essay, short story or novel. Making an error in word usage can change the tempo and alter the perspective of any given piece of writing.

Years ago, four years of Latin was a required course in High School. We all groaned, but this now obsolete language was the best example of how the nuance of a word can completely change the meaning of a sentence or story. English, based in part, on Latin, is no different. The words one uses in narrative or description show character traits and personality.

"He was a tempting, seductive piece of work," shows the reader much about this character, as does, "She put on her reading glasses and began stamping the books the children brought to the library desk." Words define characters, build plot and suspense, and describe settings. Words in dialogue show emotions and character behavior. Words are all one has to work with, both in real life and in writing. It is prudent to choose them well. Roget's Thesaurus should be evey writer's bible, packed as it is with synonyms that shift context and meaning in the most subtle ways.

"Words express ideas, name things. Words have momentum. They carry you from one place to another. When your words change, you change." Taken from The World Book Complete Word Power Library."

"'In the Miracle Worker,' based on the life of Helen Keller, the little blind and deaf girl's mother asks the child's teacher what is to be taught first. 'Language, I hope, replies the teacher . . . what is she without words?'" Taken from from the Dictionary of Problems and Expressions," by Harry Shaw.

Words are critical to writing. Without them the page would be blank. Words help communicate thoughts and feelings. What would we be without words? Mastery of words would take an lifetime and more. And should.

As for drafts, to my mind, no story is ever completed until some caring person rips it out of my hands and says, "Enough already!"
 

Web Site: A Writer's Journey


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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 12/11/2010
This is amazing, Micki. I just happened upon your article and coincidentally, the poem that I posted yesterday here at AD is about this very same theme. It is all about the power of words. I appreciate very much what you have shared here in your article. Thank you. Love and best wishes,

Regis
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