Thursday, September 27, 2012

Words as Jewels

Words are our friends. We use them every day. They can sparkle and shine. Here is an exercise in which we can examine words one by one, as if looking at each facet individually for perfection and flaws. The short text that this generates is a good catalyst for a handmade book.

  1. Do a free write of prose, a Person/Place/Action exercise, or a Step-By-Step Story.
  2. Distill the text down to a 30-Word-Story (or fewer words not counting a title). What is the essence of what you are saying?
  3. Give the text a Working Title. You can change it later. (Thanks to Charles Hobson for this concept.)
  4. Create a grid that is 5 x 6. Put one word in each box near the top of the box.
  5. Examine each word separately and see if it is the best word, or if you can find a livelier or better choice. Write new words under the old words.
  6. Circle all of the best words, one in each box.
  7. Copy over the revised story and use it in a book, if you like, or send it off to the Safety Pin Review.
  8. Try the exercise with the grid again, this time completely changing the words, not just using synonyms, but looking at parts of speech: try a new noun for your original one, a new verb, etc..
See how different words change the meaning and how they contain emotions within them. For example, suppose you use the word "seeing." It could be replaced by: looking, noticing, glancing, ogling, examining, spying, understanding, or watching. Which one has the right emotional resonance for what you are trying to say?


Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Alisa, thanks for this workout for words!

Sue said...

How interesting, I may give this a try:)