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Friday, April 1, 2011

The Color Of Words

By the title of this post, I do not mean red, yellow, blue, etc.  I am speaking about "word painting".  Word painting is important for most, if not all writers.  There are some genres where extra description is not valued; technical works such as scientific data or instruction manuals; medical articles also fall into this category as do some journalistic articles. 
However, on the whole we need our writing to paint the picture that we are compiling in our minds into a vivid and vibrant piece.  Thus we become empathetic with the words and appreciate the value of the author's attempts more fully. 
The prase, "the face looked into the window," is made more defined with just a few details:  "the haggard, pale face looked into the window."  Now, there is detail and intrigue.  Not only do we want to know why the face looked into the window, but what has made it a haggard and pale one?  Words with descriptive value interest us and bring us as readers into the story that the author is trying to portray.  Clearly there is a difference between "hot" and "volcanic hot".  These degrees of description set mood, and color and bring to life the scene being displayed.
English is richly descriptive.  There are so many words to chose from, synonyms, antonyms, alliteration, all add their distinct value to any written work.  Clearly, it is valuable to learn to use the descriptive; it is an aspect of any language that should never be neglected.  Those of us who wish to write for a living must learn to use this gift that language lays at our fingertips.  A field of yellow, waving flowers comes to life much more quickly than a field that merely lies before us in a story.  It is well worth the writer's while to invesitgate words  and fill their word pallete with the colors of the descriptive.

I am introducing a new item today.  Each day I will provide a group of three words.  You may know what they mean and how to use them, or you may not.  If you don't look them up.  Use them.  We can all benefit from a little painting excercise now and again.

1- erascible   2 - destitute   3- egalitarian. 
Meanings and usage will be posted the next day so you can check your results.

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