But with so many words to choose from, it can be overwhelming to try and select the right ones. That's why it's important to have a strategy in place to help guide your word choice and avoid monotonous language.
Here are 20 tips for improving word choice in creative wriitng with strategies and examples:
- Use descriptive language: Instead of using basic words like "good" or "bad," try using more descriptive language to convey your meaning. For example, instead of saying "The meal was good," you could say "The meal was delicious."
- Vary your word choice: To avoid monotony, try using a range of different words to express similar ideas. For example, instead of using the word "said" every time you need to indicate dialogue, try using words like "uttered," "replied," or "uttered."
- Use specific language: Instead of using general terms, try using specific language that is more descriptive and evocative. For example, instead of saying "The flowers were pretty," you could say "The flowers were a riot of vibrant colors."
- Use active verbs: Active verbs help to make your writing more dynamic and engaging. For example, instead of saying "The cat was chased by the dog," you could say "The dog chased the cat."
- Avoid cliches: Cliches are overused phrases that have lost their original meaning and impact. Instead of relying on cliches, try coming up with fresh and original ways of expressing your ideas.
- Use figurative language: Figurative language, such as metaphors and similes, can add depth and complexity to your writing. For example, instead of saying "The sky was blue," you could say "The sky was a clear, blue canvas."
- Use sensory language: Sensory language helps to engage the reader's senses and create a more immersive experience. For example, instead of saying "The cake tasted good," you could say "The rich, chocolatey aroma of the cake made my mouth water."
- Use precise language: Precise language helps to convey your meaning more accurately and effectively. Instead of using vague or ambiguous words, try using language that is specific and concrete.
- Use concrete language: Concrete language refers to words and phrases that refer to tangible, physical objects or experiences. Using concrete language can help to make your writing more vivid and engaging.
- Use appropriate language: Choose your words carefully to match the tone and style of your writing. For example, if you are writing a formal essay, it would be inappropriate to use slang or colloquial language.
- Use positive language: Instead of using negative language, try using positive language to convey your meaning. For example, instead of saying "She wasn't very good at singing," you could say "She had a pleasant singing voice."
- Use powerful verbs: Strong verbs can add impact and emphasis to your writing. For example, instead of saying "The boy ran," you could say "The boy sprinted."
- Use emotive language: Emotive language helps to evoke emotion in the reader. For example, instead of saying "The music was sad," you could say "The music was a mournful lament."
- Use varied sentence structure: Mixing up your sentence structure can help to keep your writing interesting and engaging. For example, instead of using only simple or only complex sentences, try using a combination of both.
- Use varied length of words: Using a range of different length words can add variety and interest to your writing. For example, instead of using only short words, try incorporating some longer, more descriptive words as well.
- Use varied length of sentences: Like with word choice, using a range of sentence lengths can add interest and variety to your writing. For example, instead of using only long or only short sentences, try using a combination of both.
- Use specific and concrete language: Avoid using vague or abstract words and phrases, and instead opt for specific and concrete language to make your writing more descriptive and engaging.
- Use active verbs: Using active verbs can help to make your writing more lively and engaging, as they indicate action and movement.
- Avoid overusing adverbs: While adverbs can be useful for modifying verbs, they can also be overused and can make your writing feel repetitive or monotonous. Instead, try to use strong verbs to convey meaning and action.
- Vary your sentence structure: Mixing up your sentence structure can help to keep your reader's attention and make your writing more interesting. Experiment with different lengths and types of sentences, such as simple, compound, and complex sentences.
Butcher, J., & Gardner, S. (1979). A handbook of modern journalism. London: Macmillan