Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: L is for...


For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.

Today, the topic is LEXICON

Here’s a shocking revelation:  Writers use words.

So to be an effective writer, I have to effectively apply words. That’s all that writing is, really – choosing the right word at the right time and using it correctly.  Then repeating that process until I reach “THE END.” 

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s simple in the same way that all Michael Jordan had to do was put a ball through a hoop, or all DaVinci had to do was pick the right color splotch and put it on the right place of the canvas.

Writing is a matter of craft.  A master craftsman may have a vast number of tools in his collection, but he doesn’t use them all on everything he creates.  He may have several preloaded toolboxes and, depending on the job, he’ll grab one of the toolboxes and maybe a few special tools and he’s off to the job site.

This is what I mean by ‘Lexicon’.  It’s the collection of words that I choose to use on a given story.  To be the best writer I an, I want to have as huge a vocabulary as possible, but I’m not going to use every word I know on every story.  It just wouldn’t work.

Different stories need a different set of words. My setting, plot, style, and characters will all guide me towards which words to use.  My lexicon for the story is then is the toolbox full of words needed for this particular job.  How I put them together is a matter of craft, and the result will be the ‘voice’ of the story (TEASER:  Wait for V-Day for more on this).

I love learning new words and adding to all the tools I own as a writer.  But not every word I learn is going to added to a given story’s lexicon.  Some may only gather dust up on the pegboard.

Thanks for visiting -- see you the rest of this month for more alphabetical fun!

Don't forget to visit HERE to see all the bloggers taking part in this A-to-Z challenge, and try to drop in on as many of them as you can!


Catherine Stine said...

Lexicon-good word! I love crafting words-I'm in A to Z and I posted today on Leitmotif, another literary word. pop on by of you like. I'm at #607 today. Catherine

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great choice for the letter L. And a good analogy comparing the tools in a toolbox to the words in our vocabulary, too. Writers don't need to use a multi-syllabic ten-dollar word when a simpler word can be more effective, any more than a carpenter needs to use a sledge hammer to pound a slender nail into the wall.

Susan Roebuck said...

Hi Chris (new follower!) I agree writers have different lexicons. I need one at the moment because my WIP is about shipping and fishing, and there's a very specific vocabulary to those subjects.

Nancy Thompson said...

I LOVE the lexicon! I use mine several time every single day. It's my greatest tool as a writer. And I learn every time I open it. I seriously don't know what I'd do without one.

Thanks for dropping by today, Chris! You're a real treasure!!

Gina said...

Your analogy of writing with basketball and painting is brilliant! I may steal it for my Fb page. I enjoy very much reading your posts. Great work! I'm a new follower!

From Diary of a Writer in Progress.

.jessica. said...

Yes! Writers are also word-collectors... but clarity is as important as beauty, and if an important thought gets buried under the weight of an unweidly lexicon, what's the point? As a general rule I try and go with the first word that comes to mind, and change it only if it's repetitive or if there's a more specific word that can take its place. Not just a fancier word, but one that actually helps ground the sentence.

Great L post, Chris! :)

Rhonda Parrish said...

LOL I laughed for real at 'Writers use words' :) This was a great blog post and I'm really glad I stopped by. Thank you for the smile :)

~ Rhonda Parrish

Tonja said...

Interesting post. People talk a lot of the writing craft. I think there's also an art to it.

Nicole said...

I have to admit...I really love words! ;) This is a great post about building your craft and your lexicon.

L. M. Leffew said...

I love the word lexicon.

And words in general. (If I didn't...I have the wrong hobby/profession.)

I like the idea of different vocabulary styles as individual toolboxes for use in different stories. I never thought of them in precisely that manner. But it's so applicable.

Chris Fries said...

@Catherine: Thank you for the visit and the comment and sorry for the delay in responding, but I will be sure and visit your blog.

@Susan F.: Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate it!

@Susan R.: Welcome to my humble blog! I'm always happy to get new followers. And I really appreciate your comments!

@Nancy: Well thank you very, very much Nancy! You're a treasure, too!

@Gina: Sure -- you can definitely steal it. And thank you for following!

@jessica: Thanks for the visit and the support, Jes. I really appreciate it! And, oh yeah, I agree -- the right word at the right time. Not neccessarily the fanciest, just the one that's um, like, the goodest... ;^)

@Rhonda: Thank you for stopping by and for commenting!

@Tonja: Absolutely! There's clearly art in it. But a writer has to know the craft just like a painter has to know that he uses the bushy end of the brush, and how to mix colors for just the right hue, and which type of canvas to use, etc... Thanks for the visit!

@L. M.: Thank you very much for the comment and visit!