A few days ago in Transcending the Trite, I described ways of finding alternate words to keep your writing from sounding repetitious and stale. This sort of word puzzle is an exceptionally good workout for your brain. It keeps your neurons healthy and actually builds new connections, helping to keep your mind young and flexible. Here’s another example to encourage you to try it yourself.
Let’s click over to Thesaurus.com to find a synonym for “master” to reduce redundancy in this sentence: “Cindy was a master of creativity and the announcement she wrote was a masterpiece.” Oh dear — that’s okay for a first draft, to get the idea down on paper, but all I’m saying here is that Cindy wrote a masterpiece. If I want to leave that descriptive phrase in, I need to change it so it adds value to the message to justify the added ink.
I find pro, expert, whiz, wizard and exemplar, among others, but they don’t quite fit. Champion is close, but my favorite is crackerjack — that’s my word. Not only will I avoid repetition, but that word more precisely fits my need anyway. Oops, hold on. Crackerjack works, but I need to fiddle a bit further. Cindy isn’t a crackerjack of creativity, she’s a crackerjack writer. Or a creative wizard.
Sometimes you need to switch more than a single word. You need to drill down to the core concept or meaning. I’m happy with either of these alternatives, and either one is more expressive than the knee jerk original choice.
Stephanie West Allen gives additional ways to increase your vocabulary and word power in her TrackKnacks posting 7 power vocabulary words, plus two vocabulary boosters.
I urge you to click over there to learn about Word.A.Day and Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day along with all the ways that a great vocabulary can improve your life. Perhaps you’ll want to subscribe, as I’m doing. Thanks for the tip, Stephanie!
Now, how about giving your own neurons a workout by trying a few sentences in one of your stories to see what you can come up with?
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal