Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rainforest Pickings #2 - A Bouquet of Words

Words have unique powers, and learning to manage that power is a skill the writer must acquire. The choice of which particular word is used can change the intent or the tone of the written information, whether it’s an article, a short story, or a novel. A writer’s background and the extent of his vocabulary will influence the word or combination of words chosen.

Words must generally adhere to spelling, grammar and context rules. They should also be suitable for the target audience, something that can be determined with a little research. Wordsmiths might not mind checking their dictionary, but most readers will.

Words evoking emotions must be selected with their intended purpose in mind. The writer must determine the response he is seeking -- fear, anxiety, excitement, or hope -- prior to selection. Too much gnashing of teeth, or eloquent sighing, and the effect is diluted. Revising the first and subsequent drafts enables the writer to consider alternate words that might not have occurred to them in the initial creative stages.

Words have the capacity to destroy -- as in slander or defamation, to inspire -- as in sermons or stories with a moral lesson, or to teach us and increase our understanding. Even when a slanderous allegation is proved untrue, those words are remembered. Careless words published in the public domain can become fodder for lawsuits, so tread lightly.

Words alone name things, words linked together become something new -- more than they were, and words placed in a coherent order help us to communicate. Of course, one must have an understanding of the alphabet symbols to make sense of the words themselves.

Words are fickle entities, changing their meaning over time to reflect the attitudes and social mores of the populations at large. Each generation wants its own everyday language, a particular vocabulary of words better suited to their ideas. Words their parents don’t understand, referring to things their parents don’t know about.

Words make up the slogans we see on banners and protest signs. They may inform us, incite us, or express our beliefs. Words have whatever power we give them. A chemist is dedicated to his formula, a musician treasures his instrument, and a writer loves arranging words in some type of sequence, whether prose, verse, or stream of consciousness rambling.

RainForest Pickings - a series of writing related essays or musings.

For more information about rainforests refer to the following links:
http://www.nature.org/rainforests/explore/facts.html Rainforests in North America

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperate_rainforest Refer to article titled: ‘Pacific temperate rain forests of western North America’