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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crafting Corner—Meanings


Who doesn’t love Princess Bride? The Romance. The Action. The Humor.

Here’s a gem:
Vizzini: He didn’t fall? INCONCIEVABLE!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Here is another gem I learned from my writing conference:
When choosing your words be aware of their connotation and denotation.

Denotation: Dictionary definition of a word.
Connotation: Emotional associations of a word.

In an editing class I took we talked about this, and how important it is to choose words that truly say what they want them to say.

I’ll give you an example from my own MS:

“Zven is a hard man, I want to know how hard.”

I big thanks to Cassie and her dirty mind for convincing me to change hard to cruel :) LOL!

This is something I’d never thought to look for, but it is so true. You can’t just hit the thesaurus when you need a new word for walked, because march means something different than stroll, and stride and roam are actually opposites.

What about you? Are you aware of the secondary meanings of words? What was your worst blunder?

-Angie

18 comments:

Cristina said...

oh, great post. I love my thesaurus, but you are right, all the options you get have different meanings and you have to know exactly what it is you want to say.

Cristina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen Tolios said...

Word choice is really important, and I think I'm most aware of it when writing dialog. In life, I have certain phrases I say a lot, as do several people I know, so I try to do something like that in fiction. And I do go over my writing to double check I'm using the right words.

I have to do that in real life too. XD

elizabeth seckman said...

Loved Princess Bride!

And really you should have left it in...I thought it was throbbing...mind throbbing dirty girl!!

ilima said...

I think you should put "hard" back in and mean it.
Anybody want a peanut?

Wow. Haha. Sorry, that was pretty bad.

Thank goodness for crit partners because they've caught a few of my 'wrong words' in the past.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I love connotations and nuances. I know I want another word for something but I can't think of it so I search the thesaurus and sure enough, I usually find just what I'm looking for. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Wasn't that a great class? And thoughts like Cassie had are exactly why we need beta readers. lol

Libby said...

Inigo Montoya is one of my favorite memes! I constantly have to go back and reread for connotation. And names. I have a character named Linus right now, that I will probably have to change in the future...

Stacy Henrie said...

Good point! I probably need to be more aware of this. Thank goodness for crit partners. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I personally like hard men. Haha, I guess Cassie and me are two peas (gutter brains) in a pod.

Johanna Garth said...

LOL, glad to know I'm not alone in reading that the Cassie way!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is something I'm conscious about to the point of being paranoid. :(

Great post, Angela!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is something I'm conscious about to the point of being paranoid. :(

Great post, Angela!

Kim said...

The first time I saw The Princess Bride was when I was in college, in a packed theater full of kids who'd all seen it so many times they knew it by heart. So, every time Vizzini said, "INCONCEIVABLE" the entire audience said it with him. It was a lot of fun! Great first introduction to the movie!

As for word blunders, I'm sure I've made many, but nothing comes to mind. Great post!

Meredith said...

Haha, that's hilarious! I always comb through my manuscript making sure I didn't make any unintended double entendres. :)

Susan Francino said...

I have a couple character names that people have pointed out happen to be double entendres... Haven't decided what to do about those yet. I think it's usually A-okay in dialogue, though--it was good enough for Shakespeare, right? ;)

Susan Francino said...

I have a couple character names that people have pointed out happen to be double entendres... Haven't decided what to do about those yet. I think it's usually A-okay in dialogue, though--it was good enough for Shakespeare, right? ;)

Angela Brown said...

I can't think of my worst blunder - which I'm sure there may have been too many - however, you are so right that it's important to bear word meanings in mind.

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