Words, Words, Words

This post by Jennifer Flaten

I just finished reading a book that was a typical suspense fiction. It was a fine book, the main topic was time travel, so it’s not like you can dispute any of the technical aspects right? My major complaint is that the author tried a little to hard to use big words.taller de ilustracion digital - 428

Now, I like learning new words, most of the time I can figure them out from the context. Sometimes I can’t and I will look them up-side note, aren’t cell phones great for doing that? In the old days I would have to bookmark the page or hope that I remembered the word later to look it up in the dictionary, now I just Google it.

Sometimes, though it just seems a little overreaching if you know what I mean. If I was reading a very heavy drama or a literary masterpiece I would expect to have a few more difficult words in the book that I would have to look up, but in a typical mystery/suspense novel having “fifty cent” words tossed in there just seemed fake.

Sorta of like the author got a word of the day calendar and wanted to use every single one. For example, instead of saying they exited the car, he wrote they “debouched” sigh. Nice word, but maybe not really necessary.

Of course, this is truly a matter of taste, so let me know what do you think as a writer or as a reader. Big words love them or hate them?

In addition to reading I love making jewelry, visit my Etsy shop to browse my creations.

 

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13 Responses to Words, Words, Words

  1. Joe Stephens says:

    I have students who do that in their essays. Sometimes it feels like the goal is to see how many unusual words they can prove they know instead of answering the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris says:

    I enjoy words, but as a writer I do try to limit the number of times my readers have to go to the dictionary. Good point. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I try to use words my readers will understand. Sometimes though, when I’m writing poetry, I’ll go to rhymezone.com to look for a synonym of a word so I don’t have to use that particular word twice, and if I like the sound of a particular synonym, I’ll use it.

    Like

  4. I like learning new words, too, but too many big words distracts me from the story, and I lose interest. Learning is great, but so is reading, especially if the story is a way to “escape” the real world.

    Like

  5. If there are too many uncommon words, I agree, it feels like the writer is trying too hard. Literary fiction is one thing but then again, I don’t read much literary fiction for just that “over the top flowery” language reason.

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  6. Wranglers says:

    I don’t mind one or two “50 cent” words, but too many just frustrate me. Cher’ley

    Like

  7. I enjoy learning new words, but I prefer only a couple if I’ve picked up a book to read for enjoyment. Too many big words and I lose interest. Reading to me is relaxing and having to look up words as I go along definitely doesn’t fit that feeling.

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  8. Neva Bodin says:

    I pretty much concur with previous comments, a couple inspire me to learn a new word, more than that are distracting and seem contrived. Good post!

    Like

  9. katewyland says:

    I agree. It’s distracting when you become aware of the author. He/she is supposed to be invisible.

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  10. S J Brown says:

    I find that 50 cent words tend to distract the reader when they are over used. A member of a writing group I attended loved long unfamiliar words. I didn’t enjoy reading his work, and often someone would ask him what the word meant. It was months before he confessed he made most of those 50 cent words up. It was a shame since his storyline was good and those made up words detracted from the story.

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  11. Nancy Jardine says:

    I love learning new words, and always have, so what I consider to be normal words are possible less commonly known by some readers. In trying to avoid repetition of common words I use alternatives which come naturally to me and I don’t generally need to look up a thesaurus. The word ‘debouched’ is new to me, and sounds very French, so I’m off to look that one up, Jennifer! (don’t think I’ll ever use it because it doesn’t have a good ring to it!)

    Like

  12. Mike Staton says:

    Depends on the context. If it’s dialogue and the character loves to use highfalutin words, that’s fine. In narrative, that’s another matter entirely. In having chapters of my latest WIP reviewed on an online workshop, I did have a reviewer remark that she had no idea what one of the slang words meant (I’m trying to use Victorian era slang words as part of dialogue to give the tale a 1860s feel).

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  13. Kathy Waller says:

    I learned in freshman comp to use simple words, preferably with Anglo-Saxon roots. Not that I do that, of course. I guess word choice depends on the audience. I’m trying to think of an audience that would accept “debouched” without a trip to the dictionary. (I also find the word delightful and can’t wait to use it. Somewhere.)

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