Hello, authors! Do you ever find yourself writing a scene where your characters are having a steaming cup of coffee and suddenly have a craving for one yourself? Or, what if your characters are sharing a luscious ice cream sundae? Doesn’t that make you want one?
Why is that?
Because Words Have Power!
It is our job as writers to use those words in the best way possible not only to communicate an idea, but emotions and scenes.
The use of gestures and body language predates spoken language. Many researchers believe this form of communicating began at least four million years ago. When we speak today, we still use gestures and body language to supplement our communication. Often, we unconsciously use body language for at least 55% of all communication. I have always said, if you tied my hands, I wouldn’t be able to speak. 🙂
So what does all of that have to do with writing? Simple. By implementing the use of body language along with strong words in writing our stories (especially dialogue) we can tell our readers tons of information about the person speaking. For instance, if someone crosses their arms across their chest, it shows an act of defiance, or taking a defensive stance. Clenched fists, can portray anger. Picking at an imaginary thread on clothing shows restlessness or anxiety. You get the idea.
But I want to talk more about the words themselves. The language we use today still has words that were formulated sixty-five thousand years ago to describe the feelings and emotions that were emerging from the middle brain’s polarity thinking. If we consciously change our language, we can change the course of an entire story or life.
High-energy words accompany high-energy thoughts and vice-versa. So, in choosing words through which to tell our stories, we can set a tone from the get-go. If we are writing a scene where one of the characters is vile, we would want to use power words to get that point across. Maybe he has a permanent sneer on his face or a long scar running down one cheek. Words like deadly, poison, deceiving, death, dark or toxic might convey his demeanor. Of course, to show someone happy, and light-hearted would require opposite words.
And that leads me into the next transition. Words have power so why not choose power words when we are writing?
Power words are are persuasive, descriptive words that trigger a positive or negative emotional response. They can make us feel scared, encouraged, aroused, angry, greedy, safe, or curious. Make sense?
Here are a few examples:
Notice that all of these words are action verbs. Verbs determine when something happens, in the past, present or in the future. They set the tense of your story.
So, the next time you sit down at the keyboard, pay attention to the words you are typing. Are they weak words like felt, thought, saw, walked, etc? Or, are you using power words that pack a punch and get to the heart of the emotion?
I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about using power words in your writing?