Insouciant, What a Word!

From the Writer’s Toolbox

By Annette Rey

I love this word – insouciant.

I heard it used in a 1953 radio program rebroadcast in 2019 describing a private eye. That spoke to me of the probable education level of the 1950s radio-listening population.

I surmise that in current times, fifty percent of the population has never heard the word before, much less are able to define it, or spell it, or would have recognized it as it was quickly spoken over the air. Hearing it took me aback for a couple of moments. I said to myself, “What did he say? Insouciant? What a good word!” The usage of the word in this context excited me and drifted me to that era of the 1950s where I imagined a more educated populace, where people sat with one ear glued to their radio, where their minds were engaged in the exploits of their favorite character. In that moment, the word worked on my imagination and transported me. I had escaped the present.

This is exactly the effect you want your readers to experience. Words are the transport vehicles you must supply them to take them along the journey you are designing. And before I go on, insouciant means – more than having a carefree attitude, the person who is insouciant couldn’t care less.

Hearing the scriptwriter’s word choice told me he was familiar with it, felt comfortable with it, and used it correctly. The writer didn’t fear using the word and didn’t expect the word to be too obscure. He did not underestimate his listener. This is a good lesson for the writer of today. Do not feel you are speaking above your reader and do not ever talk down to him. Expect he will appreciate your words.

Writers need to have a wide vocabulary for obvious reasons like enriching their prose and enticing their readers. But words mean more than that, and should mean more than that. Words should be open doors to new thoughts, deeper thoughts, extensive descriptions, insights and feelings beyond the pictures that common words bring to our minds. Replace mundane words with richer words that challenge and excite and maybe even educate your readers. Bring flavor to your work. Transport your reader.

I’d rather tag along with an insouciant gumshoe than to be associated with a mere don’t﷓give-a-damn character. Words make your creations really alive. Breathe life into them.

Insouciant – I love this word.

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Life Gets in the Way

Read and Write

By Annette Rey

Hi, world,

My apology to you during this deep winter. I am sorry I have been absent for some months – family issues. As I have said in the past, life often gets in the way of writing.

But, on the upbeat, I am now focusing on my own writing – pursuing paying markets for short stories and essays and, hopefully, working toward my first book. That sentence sounds rather dubious. I have learned to speak specifically – it helps one to achieve goals. So, I correct that sentence by dropping the hopefully and toward and will, “…working on my first book.”

I will post once a week on this site with helpful hints for writers with the desire to give writers that one more little piece of information and encouragement that will help them along their writing path.

Today I pass along this tidbit. I’ve been told to read Thomas H. Cook’s work Red Leaves as a guide to study writing technique. It is a literary crime novel. I have not read this work yet, but that should not stop you from taking this hint and seeing what you can learn from it.

If you do read it, please let me know the discoveries you have made.

Please continue to check in. I will post every Saturday.

The best to all out there who are pursuing this most rewarding craft – writing.

Word of the Week 8/11/2018

Words That Begin with “X”

By Annette Rey

What do all the words that begin with the letter x have in common?

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Book Review – The Elements of Eloquence

Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase

By Annette Rey

While on a summer hiatus I read a few books. One of those is The Elements of Eloquence, Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase, by Mark Forsyth.

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Word of the Week 7/14/2018

Theremin

By Annette Rey

What does a musical instrument, the Big Bang Theory, and a murder mystery TV show have in common ?

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Writer’s Quotes

Good Advice

By Annette Rey

Writer’s food for thought…

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Memories, Fact vs. Emotion

Writing What You Know

By Annette Rey

Your private memories reveal a different kind of truth separate from actual facts. The wallpaper you contemplated as you fell asleep as a child, counting the flowers or countryside images, took on a different reality than what the manufacturers intended.

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