Tag Archives: vocabulary

Writers and Vocabulary

9 Jan

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

The famous Stephen King said it, and so many more agree.

I vehemently say this to every writer I know. Why? Because it amazes me how many writers don’t read on a regular basis.

By reading, you’re expanding your creativity, your stories, your life, and even your vocabulary. And your vocabulary is vital.

Today, I wanted to concentrate on expanding your vocabulary and why it’s so important. I’ve sort of written about this before—Writing Tips: Build Your Vocabulary —where I discussed how you should not only read a lot, but pay attention while reading. This includes marking every word or phrase you come across that you’re unsure of, so that you can come back later to study them. I call this a vocabulary study guide.

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So what is my vocabulary study guide?

I create one every time I read a book. While reading, I circle words, and after I’m finished, I study them. This list includes words I don’t know, words that catch me off guard, words I know but forget to remember, and words I simply want to concentrate on more, maybe because they’re beautiful or strange or perfect for certain scenarios.

How do I organize it?

Personally, I categorize words by most likely subject. By feelings or people or places or, my personal favorite, body parts and other medical things. (Example from below? Carbuncle: a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria.) Sometimes, though, I organize my lists by words I need extra help on. In my below example for instance, I circled inscrutable FOUR times in the SAME book. (And this isn’t the first book I circled it in.) Why? I know this word. I do. But for some reason, whenever I’m reading or writing, my brain stumbles over it. I want, more than anything, for inscrutable to become natural to me.

So here is a literal example from my most recent read.

All of these words come from Iron Cast by Destiny Soria, a young adult book about prohibition, asylums, and hemopaths, people capable of creating illusions through song, poetry, and art. I highly recommend this diverse read, and I hope this list of beautiful words encourages you to check it out. Seriously. Everything in this post comes from that book. If you’re curious, here’s my book review on Goodreads.

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria Study Guide:

Five Senses:

          Sound:

Raucously: making or constituting a disturbingly harsh and loud noise

Sonorous: (of a person’s voice or other sound) imposingly deep and full

          Smell:

Redolent: fragrant and sweet smelling OR strongly reminiscent or suggestive of

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Another reason to learn? Wooing women. 😉

Emotions:

Avaricious: having or showing an extreme greed for wealth or material gain

Imperturbable: unable to be upset or excited; calm

Languorous: the state or feeling, often pleasant, of tiredness or inertia

Temerity: excessive confidence or boldness; audacity

Beatific: blissfully happy

Body parts/Medical:

Carbuncle: a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin, typically infected with staphylococcus bacteria.

Paunchy: a large or protruding abdomen or stomach.

Relating to People:

Spectacled: wearing spectacles

Haughty: arrogantly superior and disdainful

Stodgy: dull and uninspired, ex. stodgy old men

Gaggle: a disorderly or noisy group of people (also a flock of geese)

Expression: Speaking/Writing:

Asperity: harshness of tone or manner

Succinctly: (especially of something written or spoken) briefly and clearly expressed

Other Description:

Inscrutable: impossible to understand or interpret

Ostensibly: apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually

Anathema: something or someone that one vehemently dislikes

You might think you know every word you read, but really, if you slow down and ask yourself what the literal definitions of words are (rather than relying on context), you’ll force yourself to look up more and more words to learn on your own. It might seem like a waste of time or time-consuming, but I honestly love it. I revel in challenging myself to memorize new phrases and understand a wider range of the English language, and I believe it helps my writing.

Try it out for yourself and see which words you learn.

Who knows? You might need to use it in a novel one day.

~SAT

Website Wonders

27 May

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of May’s Website Wonders categorized into Publishing, Vocabulary Fun, Reading, Social Media, and Just for Fun (a.k.a. cats, art, and futuristic things).

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Publishing:

Surviving the Slush Pile: written by Sherry Ficklin, best-selling author and gatekeeper of Clean Teen Publishing, this article has amazing tips and pointers for those struggling to get a contract. (She also makes a call for submissions!)

Vocabulary Fun:

14 Words That Are Their Own Opposites: Ex. Sanction (To give permission or to oppose a penalty on)

23 Perfect Words for Emotions You Never Realized Anyone Else Felt: Sonder . . . the realization that everyone passing you by has their own life.

Origins of Words and Phrases: Why do we say it’s raining cats and dogs?

27 Brilliant Words You Didn’t Know You Needed: Errorist. I feel like one of these quite often. 

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Reading:

12 Books About Social Injustice: This is a great list.

12 Great Overlooked Books for Living Minimally: Lots of self-help books about positive living.

The 20 Best Opening Lines for Books: Might strike an idea for writers struggling to write their own opening line!

Books To Be Considered Well Read: Just for fun!

Social Media:

Canva: Create YouTube channel art and more! Full disclosure: This was sent to me by a representative for review, and I think it’s a great website if you need a forum where things are simplified. They also provide fonts and photos, but most of them do cost a few dollars. That being said, they have free options. It’s worth checking out.

Just For Fun (A.k.a. Cats, art, futuristic stuff):

 Cat Con La: Cat Con is a thing. And Simon’s Cat creator will be there! I love him.

Artists Uses Discarded Keys To Create Unique Décor: This is beyond magnificent.

A Timeline of the Future: So cool!

I hope you enjoyed these! See you with more Website Wonders next month!

~SAT

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