Friday, September 28, 2012

What's in a Word? -- Reminders

Last week I ranted explained my dislike of the word "walk" to describe a character's mobility. Today I'm still singling out that word, but taking things a step further, using synonyms for not only adding description and ambiance to a scene, but also to allow readers to remember a critical piece of the story they may have forgotten. Once more I'm picking on Lucky from Diversion and the upcoming Collusion. He's fun to pick on.

Readers put books down. They read two or three at a time. They read in fifteen minute intervals on breaks at work. Therefore, they forget details every now and then, at least, I know I do. Readers may wonder, "Why doesn't Lucky simply run away from the bad guy?" forgetting that he suffered a leg injury on page sixty in Collusion. It doesn't require a repeat of the injury scene, or droning on about "My poor leg!" All the reminder requires is one word, or rather, one of several handy words.

"Lucky hobbled across the parking lot." Even though a reader may wonder at first why he's hobbling, they'll remember the injury. "Lucky hobbled across the parking lot, his crutches more hindrance then help" also serves a reminder.

While Lucky's injury needs only be portrayed for one third of a book, Noah, in The Angel of 13th Street suffered an old injury that still effects him. When he's tired or worked too hard, the leg hurts, and he can't run very well. So occasionally you'll see Noah limp, hop, shuffle, or stumble.  Not only do these words better describe his odd gait, but they serve as reminders of an infirmity.

But while Noah refuses to show weakness to his young partner, Jeremy, you can bet Lucky is not above milking his broken foot for all the sympathy and home cooked meals he can get from Bo.


  1. Seriously, my characters no longer walk!!! Hugs to you from my grateful readers... More please Sen-sa Eden grasshopper is ready for more. Hugs, Z.

  2. Next week, I'll attack the word "looked".

  3. Great post! I m surely sharing this with my friends!