~Today’s blog comes from Matt Duvall!~
Hi! My name is Matt Duvall. I’m in the same MFA program as Irene, and she was kind enough to invite me to guest blog. I’m hoping she doesn’t regret it.
I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about word choice.
Part of this has to do with the fact that next week I’ll be back in school, teaching 9th and 10th graders. Rarely, very rarely, I have to remind them of appropriate word choice for an academic setting.
It may also be a result of Irene’s blog about grammar, or the preparation I’ve been doing to get ready for the “Word Choice Workout” online workshop that my wife and I are presenting for the Passionate Ink chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
Or maybe it’s just that I’m a writer, and thinking about words is what we do.
Regardless of the why, I’ve come up with a short list of my (current) favorite words. Some of these are favorites because of their literal meaning. Some I like because of their connotation. And some just sound really cool. So, without further ado, I give you: words Matt Duvall really likes.
- Avuncular. My uncle turned me on to this one, and it’s been a favorite ever since.
- Cogitation. Of all the words on my list, I thought about this one the most. As a teenager, I used to think it meant something dirty.
- Limned. There’s something poetic about it. In fact, there’s a poem by Samuel Daniel that uses it.
- Malevolent. It’s one of those words that just sound evil–and it is.
- Shambling. I particularly like this to describe the living dead, or the waitresses at an all-night diner.
Of course, there are some words I don’t care for. Here’s a short list, along with my reasoning.
- Epistemology. Thinking about it gives me a headache.
- Felt. I only dislike this word in fiction, and only when it’s not used to describe a fabric. Basically, if a writer says “So-and-so felt x emotion,” she’s telling, not showing. Example: Hank felt scared. Compare to: The hairs on the back of Hank’s neck stood up. (I know, it’s cliche, but it’s still better–isn’t it?)
- Guarantee. Nothing against the word itself, except that I always misspell it.
- Hirsute. I don’t care for it–perhaps because I am.
- Moist. Just…icky.
So those are my lists. What words rock your world–or make you cringe?