With all the aspects to worry about in your novel, is word choice really that important? Aren’t things like character development and plot more important?
Plot and character development are probably the two most important aspects of a novel, but that’s no reason to treat word choice lightly. So, after you’ve revised your novel, filled in plot holes, and created realistic, three-dimensional characters, give your novel another look for word choice. It can have a bigger impact than you think.
Here’s why. After you’ve worked so hard on making your novel and characters interesting, you don’t want to ruin your shot for a book deal or alienate your readers by providing anything less than the best. Taking the time and care to be nit-picky, even about word choice, will give your novel a more professional, complete feel. This will go a long way when your book is before an editor or your readers.
3 Reasons Why Word Choice is More Important than You Think
Word Choice Helps Eliminate Redundancy
As you go through your novel with a fine tooth comb, look for redundant word choice. Are you using the same word over and over? (I am so guilty of this sometimes!) We all have words that we know and makes us feel comfortable. But using the same word too many times is boring, and not always the best choice. Don’t be afraid to pull out that thesaurus (or see what synonyms MS Word suggests) in order to avoid words you’ve already used. Doing so will help you truly find the best word to describe what you are really trying to say.
Word Choice Improves the Mood
If it is a fast-paced action scene, you can use word choice to set that mood. Pick words that use harsh sounds and are powerful. Think of comic books and how they use words like pow, boom, and zap! Words with the letters P, B, M, Z, etc. carry a powerful sound and can set the appropriate mood for an action scene. Long vowels will work better than short vowels.
On the other hand, if you want a soft, gentle scene choose words that are calming and relaxing. Short vowels, instead of long. Words with the letters S, H, or R. Think words like soothe, heaven, halo, relax, rest, etc.
Using the right words for the right mood can really make a difference in your writing.
Word Choice Indicates Age Level
If you are telling the same story to a toddler, a child, a teenager, or an adult, you are going to use very different vocabulary.
Paying attention to word choice will help you ensure that your novel is appropriate for your intended audience. Don’t be afraid to use words your reader may not know (they shouldn’t be afraid of a dictionary). Reading is a great way to expand one’s vocabulary. But you don’t want to overdo it or use a word that is way beyond their comprehension. Nor do you want to use words below their understanding. You never want to make your reader feel stupid.
Most books clearly target a particular age group, so using the right words can help your book attract the right crowd.
How else do you use word choice to improve the overall quality of your novel? If you aren’t ready to focus on word choice, be sure to save this post to Pinterest for later!