Ever been trying to say something and have a word right on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t remember it? I do that all the time. Normally, this wouldn’t be strange, but I’m an author. A wordsmith. Someone who can supposedly say what I want to say in such a way that other people want to read it.
Why is it so hard to express ourselves easily? Maybe because there are over a million words in the English language. Shouldn’t having that many options make it easier? Not necessarily. Consider the fact that some words can have multiple meanings. Others may mean only one thing, but sound similar to another word that means something completely different. Not long ago, I read a book last year where an author used the word “aversion” when she meant to say “diversion.” Mistakes like that force me to leave a lower rating that I might if the grammar were correct.
Add into all of the above the variations in dialects from different regions of the country … and world, and it just makes for a big crazy mess of a language.
My goal as an author is to choose words and phrases that will help you visualize my vision and understand my thoughts. No easy task. So, how do I make my stories the best they can be?
During the first draft, I don’t worry as much about grammar as I do in getting the words on paper. Sometimes, the ideas come so fast, it’s all I can do to keep my fingers from tripping over each other on the keyboard. After that, I let it simmer for a while and won’t read it for several weeks at the least–months at the most.
Then, I have multiple edits, some by myself and others with friends and professionals, before I submit a story to a publisher. Even more after the manuscript is accepted. I’ve even heard of some reading their stories backwards to try and catch things. Then, we listen to our stories aloud before sending them to the printer. To try and catch anything that could be misconstrued or wrong. And for the most part, we do.
What about you? Do you have a trick to make sure you’re saying what you mean? Do you have a support system to help you catch sentences that make sense in your head, but not so much on the screen? I’d love to hear about it!
Amy R Anguish, author of An Unexpected Legacy, grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.
Look for her next book, Faith & Hope, out April 16, 2019!
Follow her at http://abitofanguish.weebly.com or http://www.facebook.com/amyanguishauthor