Friday, April 30, 2010

Words of a Writer

I was thinking last night of how glad I am that I know how to read well. I LOVE to read. It's one of my most favorite things to do. This week I checked out six great YA books I've been wanting to read from our library, and I felt like I was in heaven. Yeah, that's how much I love to read.

One of the reasons I love to read is that I get to learn new words. In fact reading is one of the way people expand their vocabulary. There are many words that I don't actually use in my everyday speech, but I know how to spell them, probably can pronounce them, and if I cannot deduce what they mean from the context in which they are used, I grab the trusty old dictionary and look them up. (Yes, this is what writers do for fun.)

I don't use a lot of big words when I talk. In person, I talk in a sort of country slang. You know, like "My horse needs shod." Or, "I ain't even gonna do nothin' today 'cept prop my feet up and read." (Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the drift.)

Of course if I ever go to New York and meet a bunch of important publishing people, I will probably talk correctly. But I digress.

Reading lets me learn big words that I occasionally use in my writing. I might not actually use these words in my speech (unless I go to NYC and want to impress people) but here are a few words that I know the meaning of, thanks to reading:

  • hyperbole
  • eschew
  • behemoth
  • hiatus
  • egregious
  • ubiquitous

Those are just a few of the words I've learned from reading. But hey, it's Kentucky Derby weekend, which trumps even reading and writing for me!

So let me just eschew this ubiquitous blogging now, with its egregious interference of my horserace viewing. This is a behemoth weekend of racing, so I now take a brief hiatus to watch (today) the La Troienne Stakes (Rachel Alexandra runs), the Kentucky Oaks, and tomorrow (am I filled with hyperbole yet?) the Kentucky Derby, where a filly named Devil May Care will run against nineteen colts.

What big words do you use in writing, but not in everyday speech? And who do you like in the Derby?


Laura S. said...

Loved this post! I always look up new words I don't know. Most of the time the context clues me in on the meaning, but I like precise dictionary definitions. Heehee, it's great being a writer!

I love using surreptitious, facetious, brouhaha, garrulous and loquacious (huh, I like "tious"-sounding words!). I don't use them in serious conversations, though, because most people don't know what they mean. The only reason I know what they meant is because I'm such a word nerd!

Linda Benson said...

Word Nerd - that's great! I can see we are two of a kind. I love your blog, by the way, Laura :-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Well done! My fourteen year old has a much better vocabulary than I do. When I taught I used good grammar, but since I've been "retired" I use a lot of gonnas in my discussions...

Vonna said...

Alas for Devil May Care. Ah, well.

I can safely say my WIP doesn't have any of these words:
* hyperbole
* eschew
* behemoth
* hiatus
* egregious
* ubiquitous

Maybe in the next one!

Linda Benson said...

Alas is a good word. We could use that in any manuscript. And perhaps if we spoke and wrote with all those words they might actually call us literary - whatdaya think?

Anyway, all the horses came home safely in the Derby, and for me, that's a win right there.

Thanks for your comments!

middle grade ninja said...

Guttural. I don't even get to use this word in fiction that often, but it never comes up in conversation. Too bad.

middle grade ninja said...

Glad you like the review and the surprise. I'm at my day job now and unable to answer emails or tweets. Really, I'm amazed I can even leave this comment. I saw you had sent me messages just as I had to leave for work. Fear not. I will respond this very evening. And now I must do work that is not writing, but for which I am better paid.