word usage

I have to admit that I positively admire writers who can religiously post that they have written 10,XXX number of words on a particular novel. I have no idea how they do it.

Meanwhile, I continue to agonize over whether I should use word want or desire in a sentence. To me want indicates a demand while desire portrays a more loving approach to the fulfillment of a need. Desire is easy on the tongue and eye while want is a much harsher word both spoken and visually. It’s always been a major hang-up of mine that the word must fit not only the meaning or intent behind what I write, but should also subtly convey an aspect of my scenes.

The best example that I can render from the top of my head is Edgar Allan Poe’s use of the word tarn. Rather than using fetid pool or stagnant lake, he often uses the word tarn, an ugly word that communicates the dismal atmosphere of his scenery and tales.

So depending on the scene, I will often waffle between two words, sometimes judging their effect for twenty minutes or more. Whether that attests to my inexperience as a writer or to anal retentiveness, I have no idea.

Oh, and by the way, want was the word I needed . . .

Copyright 2009 Teresa Frohock


About T. Frohock

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