Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wordsmithery

Do you ever ponder the coolness of words? As writers, most of us are probably weirdly excited by words. After all, they are the key to our craft!

In my composition classes, we talk often about the power of words and the value of specificity - not settling for "said" every time, but using something like "whispered" or "cackled" instead. There are so many fun words out there, but too often we settle for the everyday. For fun, I like to have my students list their top ten favorite words. Sometimes we like the sound of a word or the meaning behind a word or a memory associated with a word... It doesn't matter WHY they like the words. After listing 10 words that are woohoo! for them, they must use all ten words in one poem - not always an easy task. The poems ALWAYS blow me away! I think it's because the students wrote using words they love, words that were fun or important to them.

I love words like:

behemoth
reciprocity
mama
chocolate
pumpernickle
doofus
perseverate
cumbersome
wonderful
believe
daffodil
(and wordsmithery, of course)

What are some of your favorite words? How do you wordsmith when you write?

10 comments:

Mandy said...

Oooh, I LOVE behemoth. My sister and I used to make games of using intereting words. We'd say if you use *word* ten times correctly in a sentence, you own it.

JenE said...

I really like daffodil, too! I also like the word plethora, probably because I enjoyed the movie The Three Amigos a little too much.

Lisa and Laura said...

You know what word I hate? Flaccid. It's so gross, isn't it? I honestly think it's worse than the f-bomb.

As for my favorite word, that's tough! I really like the word tucked because it sounds exactly like it should. Random, I know.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Mandy: I love the "own it" idea - I'll have to use that on my students! :)

JenE: Oh, I can't believe I forgot to include plethora - it's one of my all-time favorites!

Katie said...

Hmmm... Interesting post! I need to think about this but it's a great exercise!

I love the word "bones." When my yoga teacher tells us to let our "bones" sink into the earth, it always sounds so yummy.

weird, I know.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Behemoth is a great word- I used it in HATSHEPSUT!

I love lackadaisical. That's my favorite word of all time!

storyqueen said...

I hate the words brouhaha and nauseous.

Just.Hate.Them.

I used to make lists of words I hated, because I'm cool like that.

Shelley

Kathy McIntosh said...

Good post, fun words. Love your butterflies.
I love words like puff, gaggle, crisp, clench, words that sound good in my mouth and my brain.
I confess I may overuse my favorites and have to do a search/replace for those.
Ooh and I love behemoth and lackadaisical, also. Now to slip them into my novel.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love all the great comments!

I love the word bones too, Katie - there's just something fun about it.

I agree with Lisa and Laura about the yuckiness of the word flaccid - ewww! Nauseous is not great either.
I also HATE the word beans.

Lackadaisical = woohoo! :)

Carla Gade said...

I love antequated words. I have a book called Forgotten English which is a lot of fun!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...