Note to Self (and anyone else who needs to hear it): Your life is what you make of it. You are 100% responsible for your happiness.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Choose Your Words Carefully

Editing & Writing Tips

This month's topic:

Choose Your Words Carefully
         By Jennifer Moody

“The difference between the almost right word 
and the right word is the difference between 
the lightning bug and the lightning.”
~Mark Twain

I read a lot of books (it goes with the territory). I’m open to pretty much any genre (except the really scary horror stuff … I’m a big chicken). Authors who have a true, molded gift for writing can blow me away with their work. Sadly, that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. But oh when it does … I question whether I’m talented enough to read my Kindle while driving down the interstate. (I don’t, of course. Kids – don’t try this at home, er, on the road…)

My daughter makes fun of me because I often refuse to read books that everyone is raving about. Oh, I’ll read them … later. I don’t know why, but I don’t want to read them when everyone else is reading them. So I wait … and read them six months later when all the hootin’ and hollerin’ has subsided. (Twilight and The Hunger Games are two that come to mind.)

Then there are books that I know I will never read, no matter how much people rave about them. For example, I had NO plans of reading 50 shades of anything whatsoever. Everyone I knew was reading it and asking me if I had (um, no), but when will I (um, never). I didn’t care how well it was selling; I know darn well that sales don’t always have anything to do with the quality of work. It wasn’t until an Editor/Author friend asked me if I’d read it to give her my opinion (she wanted to know “what’s the big whoopin’ deal with this book?”) that I relented. By chapter five I could no longer take the horrible word repetition. I could not sit back and just read because every time she described something and followed it with “…oh my,” I thought … Ugh, she said it again! Why didn’t her Editor tell her she’s saying “oh my” too many times?!

It happens 72 times in the book, y’all. SEVENTY-TWO TIMES.

...Enough about that. The point here is, when you’re writing, choose your words carefully. Read, reread, write, rewrite. I know, I know, I’m always saying that, but seriously, think about the picture you’re painting. See if you can re-word it in a way that makes the reader form his own image, rather than always doing it for him.

“Don't tell me the moon is shining;
show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
~Anton Chekhov

The world needs more Anton Chekhovs. You’re out there. I’ve read your work (even if they weren’t talking about it on the morning show; in fact, especially if they weren’t talking about it).

Thank you, to all the wonderful writers out there, for sharing your gift with the world.


Jennifer Moody is a Professional Editor and the Owner of MoodyEdits. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at You might enjoy her take on living a happy life, on her blog “Editing My Life One Day at a Time” at And if you wanted to be nice, you could like her Facebook page at