Monday, June 3, 2013

Why Vocabulary is so Important

I've always been someone who loves words. Spelling them. Reading them. Writing with them. Just one of those things that I've been interested in since I was a young lass.

For me, the vocabulary part of the SAT was going to be my shining moment. It was the one area I had never been worried about. My high school English teacher had prepped me well. I loved her assignments. We were to read a challenging book, keep track of words we didn't know, and then once a week we were to write a few short pages using those new words.

This was golden for a word lover like me. The new words I learned out of books like "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells or "Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding would be the starting point for me to get my creative juices flowing.

I also remember my sophomore or junior year of college. I took a Modern Fiction class with a friend of mine. There was one kid in our class who used what I called "50-cent" words his questions to the professor, in any presentation, etc. Words that were so esoteric and so bizarre for a 21-year-old to be spouting, that one day, we decided to keep track of all the words he used. And we came up with a brilliant contest: After class, we both had to write a story using those words and then see who wrote the best one.

The challenge was on!  I wish I still had the list of words...but there were some good ones, as I recall. Immediately after class, I headed back to my dorm room and whipped out a 2-page story using all the words. I met up with my friend, showed her my work, and she said, "You actually did it?"

Although she had agreed to the contest, apparently she'd seen it as a joke. I saw it as an awesome challenge.

Writing "Blood Moon" reminded me of those two times in my life when vocabulary gave me inspiration to write. Instead of needing a 'writing prompt,' I just needed a vocab prompt!

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