January 22, 2012

5 Ways To Polish Your Word Weaving Skills

One challenge writers face is knowing exactly what a word means and then using it in a unique way. Great authors are more than writers. They weave words in one-of-a-kind patterns that create specific images in their readers’ minds. Often these writers throw out the mechanical rules of writing and allow the words to lead them.

The Merriam-Webster web page offers several ways to help writers increase their word weaving skills. Give them a try. Click on each link below.

1. Most Popular Words
Each day, Merriam-Webster posts lists of the 25 most frequently looked up words from the past 24 hours, past week, or past 4 months. Words frequently appearing on these lists provide a good idea of topics that are currently on peoples’ minds. Each word links to its definition.

2. Trend Watch
Words spike in popularity based on current events. Trend Watch is where you can see which words are trending and find out why. Entries often include interesting information about word origins.

3. Top Ten Lists
This section of the web page is a word weaver’s playground. It holds 50+ word lists on a variety of topics: Top 10 Charming Words for Nasty People, Top Ten Words for Useful and Intriguing Concepts, Words for Things You Didn’t Know Have Names . . . Did you know that your “philtrum” is that little dimple between your nose and your upper lip?

4. Vocabulary-Building Quizzes
The Merriam-Webster editors occasionally post vocabulary quizzes. These short, timed tests can help wake up your brain before you begin to write. Try these:

How strong is your vocabulary?

Name that thing.

5. Videos
This is the place where the Merriam-Webster editors speak directly to viewers about confusing grammar issues, word origins, and more. Take a look at this short sample, then post a comment telling us how you feel about using flat adverbs in your writing?

Ann Voskamp is one popular author who uses flat adverbs well.
Click here to visit her blog.

If you have some free time, try playing while you increase your word weaving skills. The Merriam-Webster web site also includes a nice selection of online word games.


Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the links and info, Jean. Never considered the whole flat adverb thing. Interesting! It will make me stop and think more now. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

I checked out several of the links. They're not only informative, but also fun. I've never heard of a "flat adverb."

I'll be linking to this in a future post.

Susan :)

Jean said...

Hi, Karen and Susan.

I've noticed flat adverbs being used more often in writing. I use them myself, sometimes. If you read Ann Voskamp, you'll see that she uses them to write poetic prose. I love her style, BTW.

Thanks to both of you for stopping by.


quietspirit said...

I love the idea of the flat adverb. I hadn't heard of since maybe high school. I have bookmarked this page to come back to your list and read when I have time.

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

My grammar skills are lacking! I'd never heard of 'flat adverbs' so I need to update/improve my skills!

Love your blog(s)!!


Jean said...

Quietspirit, I love the idea of sprinkling flat adverbs among my words. If used wisely, the work almost like punctuation, making the reader pause ever so slightly.

Thanks for stopping by.


Jean said...

Hi, Sherry!

You're not alone in not knowing "flat adverbs." They've been a grammatical no-no, but the rules are loosening up.