Hello, Katy Lee here. When I was a kid I loved to play with my food. To give myself some credit, though, I will say, I never dove into my meals like “Mommy’s Little Piggy” from “A Christmas Story.” Eww.
Usually, I was a mad scientist pretending to work in a laboratory, creating concoctions that would save the world from some annoying fungus or the like. (Yes, I even created stories to go with my food.) By the time I finished playing, I had taken a boring, straight-laced meal (Shh, don’t tell my mother) and created the pièce de résistance. And eventually, as I got older, my playing turned into experimenting with various spices and ingredients with the end results of some fabulous works of food art.
Even back then I followed the old saying, “All work and no play makes Katy a dull girl.” That anything without play is boring. And now, as a writer, I have taken that play into my stories.
Now, you may say your story follows the correct baseline, bringing your reader from point A to point B, with all the necessary black moments and turning points, and that’s great, but without a little jue de mots (play on words) your story could end up like my mom’s meals. Sure, it’s complete and it will satisfy, but it sure could have used a little wordplay to spice it up.
Some ways I have found to do this in my writing can include substituting out your everyday words for more exciting descriptive ones. For example, I could take the word “dancing” and replace it with “a toe-tapping production.” It feels a bit livelier and more fun.
A thesaurus can be most helpful for doing this, but a lot of times you want to do more than just swap out one word for another. You want to give your reader a whole visual as a comparison.
For example, in a situation where you need to paint a picture of a failing business, you could draw that out in numerous sentences, or you could say something like this. “We could count our client list on one hand of a bad high-school woodshop teacher.” (Thank you Mitch Joel)
The Unlocked Secret: A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you can give your reader the picture in just a few, you just saved yourself a whole lot of work…and a high word count. Get creative in your descriptions. Experiment with new vocabulary. Play word games. And read, read, read. You never know, maybe your writing will spice up so much, you’ll win a major award!
Question: How do you play with your words? And BTW, if anyone wants to play a game of Facebook Scrabble with me, bring it on.