With a Million Words to Choose From, How Does a Writer Get the Right One?

Posted on Jul 3, 2013 by   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized · Workshops

As you sit at your desk wracking your brain for that perfect word, do you ever wonder how English gained so many words—one million and counting? How it continues to add words? How you find that perfect word? Is that even possible? It’s enough to make you pull your hair out!

Hemingway told interviewer George Plimpton for his Paris Review that he revised the last page of A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times. When Plimpton asked him what stumped him, Hemingway said, “Getting the words right.” (Theodore A Rees Cheney, Getting the Words Right, p. 10)

MM advises writers to get the words right, not to strive for the perfect word. She promises you’ll have more hair if you switch your thinking just a little.

Getting the words right is enough of a challenge for any writer. Having a large vocabulary helps, but it’s not just about having lots of words in your brain. You must decide the connotation as well as the denotation of a word you want your reader to grasp. Give her a word with the wrong connotation, and you paint a confusing word picture in her mind.

In this four-week workshop, MM will devote the first three lessons to words, why English has so many of them, how English adds them, and what the levels of meaning are.

In the remaining nine lessons, she covers confusing word groups, like anxious and eager; your and you’re; accept and except; and affect and effect, and gives you easy ways to remember how to use each word.

Of course, there will be homework. MM was an English teacher for fifteen years. If you complete all the assignments on time, she will edit 1000 words of your writing free.

MM’s goal is that her students, at the end of the workshop, will feel more confident about “getting the words right” with new skills to help them do just that.


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