Friday, September 3, 2010

It's all about the wording

"Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."~ Mark Twain

If you are so inclined to overuse boring words such as "very" or "really", or other words that do not move your story forward, stop and think about this quote. It makes me take a closer look, and it helps me to write with impact.

I received an email today that illustrates this point. A little boy sat begging on a corner with his upturned hat and a sign that read: I am blind, please help. The boy received only a few coins.
A man walked by and turned the blind boy's sign board around and wrote: Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.

The blind boy received many donations.

There you have it: the first ingredient for a Chicken Soup for the Soul story. Both signs told people that the boy was blind. The second told people that they were lucky that they were not blind. It is obvious which sign was more effective.

Be creative, and innovative and your writing will be more effective. Write with impact and remember that your titles are as important as the content of your story.

This unattributed quote was attached to the email. Be thankful. When life gives you 100 reasons to cry, show life 1000 reasons to smile.

Will you tell me two things that made you smile today?

10 comments:

Lynn said...

Hi Linda, Thanks for that bit of inspiration! I can use all of it I can get.

Karen Lange said...

Cooler temperatures and my grandson. :) Have a wonderful weekend!

Tammy said...

This is and inspiring post! Thanks! Oh, and I agree with the temperatures. This day is so sparkly that I ran home and threw open all of my doors and windows. Also smiled thanks to the cutest little 6th graders I had today as a sub. They are so sweet before puberty ruins them for the next few years.

Bookie said...

Nice post, Linda. What made me smile today? Well, it is too hard to describe. We went to help the 90 year olds on the farm...it is just too wild and no way to explain. But in the midst of sorrow, worry, and deteriation, DH and I managed to get a laugh. :) Maybe it will work its way into a story someday!

BECKY said...

I am a bad one for using "very" and "really" much too often, even though I know I'm not supposed to! Great Mark Twain quote, too. Let's see...two things that made me smile today? Gosh, ONLY TWO?! Ha! An e-mail from one of my nieces' had lots of funny things in it. AND, talking to both sons on the phone, in one day! :)

Susan said...

Hello Linda: Two things that made me smile today were:

1) Honey Cat jumping up on my bosom as I sat on the living room couch

2) Tasting a delicious glass of buttermilk

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it "very" much? No no no. I enjoyed it immensely? That's better. Susan

irishoma said...

Hi Linda,
Love it!
Here are my two:
Beautiful weather
Wonderful neighbors
Donna

Linda O'Connell said...

Lynn, Karen, Tammy, Claudia, Becky, Susan, Donna
it made me smile to see your comments. Thanks for stopping by. You know what made me smile? My granddaughter shouted from the car in her little voice, "I LOVE you, Nana, I LOVE you!"

Julia said...

You and Mark Twain always make me smile. :-)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Good post, Linda. Hmm...two things that made me smile. Only two? There have been so many today. I'll go with my phone chat with my big brother and the enthusiastic greeting my two dogs offered when I came home early from work!