Monday, September 6, 2010

Uncommon is Often Best

Alright Everyone! So far I have not had a single entry into the Autumn Writing Contest. Please enter if you can! :) I really want to get this blog back on it's feet, with more followers, more contests, more posts, and more fun! I hope the only reason it is so silent is because you all are super busy, and not because you don't read this blog anymore! :) I have promised to make this more interesting, and your interest will buoy mine!

Alright. So as this is a writing blog, and as have not done a real "writing" post in a long time, I will do one now. :) One thing I have noticed, and admired in some famous writers, is their use of uncommon adjectives, or adjectives that are not normally used in certain situation. For instance, in the "Tale of Mrs. Tigglywinkle" by Beatrix Potter, there is one spot where it says: "She heard someone cough in a fat voice." Now. "Fat" is a term not generally used for describing a voice, and yet, isn't it far more effective than calling the voice "thick", or "slow" or something more weak like that? And can't you hear exactly what a fat voice would sound like? Charles Dickens uses this technique very often in his books, always giving to his characters, certain attributes that make them pop out as memorable people. The Marchioness, the Cheeryble Brothers, Fanny Squeers, Esther Summerson, Newman Noggs, and so many more! All of Charles Dickens's characters, in my opinion, are masterfully built, and each is different, though all are described equally well! For instance, in Bleak House, one Mr. Snagsby is described as expressing himself in coughs. There is his "cough of deference", his "apologetic cough", etc. Now. Dickens could have written, "Mr. Snagsby coughed apologetically, and said he was sorry...." that almost puts you to sleep before the end of the sentence! But he does it in a much livelier manner by saying things such as: "Mr. Snagsby gave his apologetic cough, and stared at the ground." or something of that sort.

Do you see how powerful the tool of using....unusual adjectives and descriptions can become? I have no idea what the proper name of this technique is, if it even is a technique at all! But I would challenge each of us to try to dig a bit deeper in our vocabulary. Avoid using "Very" at all risks. Hunt for an adjective that does not end in "ly"! Your writing will absolutely pop out to the reader if you include works often overlooked, I promise! :) -Rachel


Leia said...

Hi Rachel and Sarah,
I would definitely like to enter in the Autumn Writing Contest! Am I supposed to sign up anywhere, or just tell you?

Rachel and Sarah said...

Oh! THANK YOU SO MUCH LEIA! You will be the first! :) Just send an email to with your entry, and I'll judge it from there! :) Thank you! :) -Rachel