Monday, October 29, 2012


Now Playing: LANDSLIDE by Senses Fail
Just Read: THE MANY ASPECTS OF MOBILE HOME LIVING by Martin Clark--A fun read. I was three-fourths of the way through and still didn't know what was going to happen, and didn't find out for sure until the last page. But I knew! I swear I did!
Reading Now: THE LOST WORLD by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Articulation: The action of putting into words an idea or feeling of a specified type. 

Lately I've really been into how good writers can say exactly what they mean, how they use the perfect words in a situation. I'm not talking about analogies, where you're reading about a situation and the writer compares it to something so you, the reader, can more easily relate.

I'm talking more basic. Vocabulary and syntax. I've been reading stories lately by Ken Liu and Margaret Maron and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (big spread there), and all three are very good about articulating their thoughts. It's a gift, I think, but mostly it's hard work--you know those writers have put in a lot of practice to get so articulate.

(By the way, I think British authors might be a little better at this--Doyle, Gaiman, Rowling, they're all great at saying precisely what they mean, and nothing else. Just an observation.)

We've all tried to tell someone something that happened and hit a brick wall: "I can't describe it. You just had to be there!" Well, as writers, you pretty much have to be able to describe it, and your job is to make sure the reader IS there, to transport him away for a moment. What I've noticed, the writers who are really good at it can make the reader anticipate the sentence, so that once I start the phrase I'm expecting, I speed to the end of it and think, "Yes, exactly, I know exactly what you're talking about."

This is my goal.

 I believe articulation is one of the most important skills as a writer. It helps you be clear, concise, and say exactly what you mean in as few words as possible. It translates well into real life, too--all this election hype as made me appreciate politicians' ability to orate. With a little more practice at the keyboard, I'll never be tongue-tied again!

No comments:

Post a Comment