August 16, 2019

The Power of Words Precisely Chosen

By Rose Chandler Johnson

I confess my love affair with language and along with that my reverence for the written word. You might say, it’s part and parcel with the gift. As a writer, my challenge is to choose words—the precise words—that contribute to the creation of the fictional world of the story. Words are the writer’s modeling clay. Like brush strokes to an artist, words contribute to the overall effect, moving and enlightening the reader. As a Southern writer, my words not only convey meaning, they also convey culture, atmosphere, and a sense of place. So, to my way of thinking, the critical element of word choice can’t be overstated.

Proverbs tells us that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. I will go so far to say that a word aptly written produces those precious word pictures as well. In order to carefully construct the world of the story, the writer must choose words on purpose to craft phrases that perfectly recreate the elements of earth, sky, water, and space so precisely that readers are transported there. The writer fashions from words the heart and soul of fictional folks. He breaths into them the breath of life, and characters live on the pages and in readers’ minds.

You can’t tell me that Cathy and Heathcliff never lived. And loved. Nor that the old man in the sea never caught the marlin. I’m pretty sure I was there on the dirt with Scarlet when she vowed to never be hungry again. These characters lived for Bronte, and Hemingway, and Mitchell before they came to life for you and me. By the power of words precisely chosen.

Writers chose words to convey a particular meaning. If you’ll bear with me a moment, I’ll share an example. In a short story I wrote, I turned a phrase over and over in my mind until I shaped the meaning I wanted to convey.
Her focus was on life. Hers was a broad, general view.
Her focus was on living. She was a bit egocentric.
Her focus was on the living. This statement implies an outward focus, which was what I had in mind. One word changes the sense of the sentence. Subtle, perhaps, but part of the story elements that enlighten the reader. A writer must respect the power of the written word to accomplish his creative task.

What the reader senses from the words will strike an image on his impressionable mind and resonate in his heart. To check the story’s pulse, read it aloud. Does it come to life? If so, you have experienced the power of words precisely chosen.
Rose Chandler Johnson is known for her heartwarming, inspirational writing. In addition to works of sweet contemporary fiction, her devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments won the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in 2014. In her novels, Rose brings to life fascinating characters with compelling relationships embracing family, community, and faith. In distinctive southern settings, Rose creates memorable stories that will stir your heart. Readers often say her writing warms the soul as it reaffirms belief in love and wholesome goodness. Don’t be surprised if you sigh with pleasure as you savor the final pages of her stories. Rose has lived in a suburb of Augusta, GA for thirty plus years. Before retiring from Georgia’s school system, she taught English, French, and ESOL. Currently, she is an English instructor at a community college. In addition to reading and writing, Rose enjoys cooking, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her six children and her beautiful grandchildren. Connect with her on her Author page: Follow her on BookBub:  Twitter:  Pinterest:  Facebook:   Devotional blog:

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