Laugh vs. Roar???????
Word choice is important; it’s the truth. People say that in a book your words should paint a picture. Well, if you want to paint a picture of a sunset, but the only colors you have are black, green, and brown, you can’t really paint a good sunset. In writing, your words are those paints. If you don’t have the right colors (or words) your picture won’t be very good at all. This is why word choice is so important when writing.
So, with over a million words in the English language, it is very important to know which ones to use, especially when so many of them mean almost the same thing, with very subtle differences. Found or discovered? Joyful or jubilant? Lovely or beautiful? Although these words could most likely be used interchangeably, in some sentences one could sound totally out of place while the other fits like a glove.
Sometimes, words that the thesaurus says mean the same thing really don’t, depending on the context. For example, the thesaurus says that a synonym for laugh is roar. Well, maybe, if your sentence goes like this: The man roared/laughed with amusement. But what if your sentence is this: The beautiful princess laughed with a silvery voice. Try putting roared in for laughed. It provides a much different mental image. Or, switch it around. The lion roared with ferocious anger. vs. The lion laughed with ferocious anger. It entirely changes the meaning of the sentence, making the second one sound ridiculous.
These examples seem very obvious, don’t they? Well the funny thing is, how often when you are reading a book, or watching a movie, does a character say something that completely kills the moment? How often does one simple word bring to mind an image that completely contradicts what the author wanted you to think? Perhaps these words sounded good to the author at the time, or were carelessly thrown into the script, but either way, the important thing to remember is:
In writing people will rarely notice when you’ve done something right, but they will always notice when you’ve done something wrong.
So choose your words carefully!
Clare and Elizabeth