Being a writer I often find myself searching for alternative words to use. There are only so many times that you can use the same word, before the mind starts to focus on the overuse of a word, rather than on the content. This can impair the readers experience.
So what is the solution? You can reach for a thesaurus as well as enlist the help of your friends and family. Another option is to play the word search game. So how does the game work?
You throw a ball at the next person in the circle, and get them to suggest an alternative word with a similar meaning. For example: good, excellent, and fantastic. Fun certainly does raise the energy of the room, and makes you feel more inspired!
Research shows that being in a fun environment accelerates learning.
I played the word search game recently when my mum came to stay over. By the end of the night, I had an impressive list of words to add to my vocabulary. It was certainly more enjoyable than just having the thesaurus for company!
My favorite part of writing a novel is creating the dialogue. I think that dialogue is certainly a skill in itself, and in my opinion no matter how realistic it is, it can be ruined by the over use of she said.
Try substituting she said with she replied, retorted, explained, suggested, and offered. There are thousands of alternative words that you can use, and it can be good fun to experiment with them.
Variety is the spice of life
If you are in the process of writing a novel you will have discovered that there is a lot of movement in it. In other words, your characters are not normally going to stay in the same room throughout the whole novel. Even if they do, then it’s very unlikely that they are going to be stood in the same place from start to finish.
It’s crucial that you let the reader know what your characters are doing otherwise the book can become quite stationary. They will think that they have blinked and missed something, when they notice that their character is not still sat on the bed but looking out of the window. The secret is to fill in the gaps of how your characters got to the other side of the room. Did they run? Did they skip? This finer detail can help your readers mentally walk through the scene.
When I first started to write when I was seven years young, my vocabulary was quite limited, and extended to walk and run. In fact, it was probably still the same up until about ten years ago. Using the word she walked, or she ran throughout the content can also become quite repetitive -so try varying your use of words! For example, try she wandered or she sped. The speed that your character is walking will determine your choice.
The great thing about language is that there are so many fantastic words that you can choose from, so why limit yourself? The following are some alternatives to walking and running:
Walking slowly: inched, wandered.
Walking quickly: sprinted, flew, sped, raced.
Happily: skipped, galloped, ambled, hopped.
Quietly: inched, crept, tiptoed.
Can you think of any others?
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