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Blog by Ron Do You Watch Your Word Usage

Do you watch your word usage?

Word usage plays an important role in writing. Consider the following:

  • Short words tend to speed up a story
  • Long words tend to slow down a story
  • Some words are more difficult to understand; use clear, concise words
  • Some words have different meanings in different contexts
  • Some words are more difficult to pronounce than others
  • Use verbs and adverbs wisely (check grammar book)
  • Don’t use long sentences unless necessary
  • Short sentences tend to speed up a story
  • Normally try to stay at or below 8 sentences in a paragraph
  • Check your spelling

More on this subject after the break.

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Now, back to the subject of Word Usage.

Word Usage means more than Grammar

While grammar and spelling are important factors, you should consider other things as part of word usage. For instance, keeping track of a character’s speech characteristics.

That may sound odd, but if a character first appears as one who stutters, then you need to have that character stutter throughout the book. Which means, you will need to track the character’s speech to make sure he or she always stutters at least up to the point to where the stutter is cured.

What else should you track? How about a character’s:

  • Favorite slogans
  • Difficulty pronouncing certain words
  • Use of slang
  • Overuse of words and/or phrases

These may seem minor, but getting them right can make all the difference in your writing.


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