One aspect of good writing that I have not explored through my blog is related to word choice. Simply put, it is the ability for a writer to say something ordinary in a creative manner. Here’s an example. I was working on a lede for an article that’s out in the Weekly’s Summer Issue. The topic was skinny cocktails, and I was trying to describe how we will all be showing our arms and legs as the temperature warms. Here’s what I finalized on.
It’s almost summer, which means it’s time to collectively unsheathe our arms and legs and trade in hoodies for T-shirts and shorts.
I’m sure someone has used unsheathed to refer to something other than a sword before. I felt that the verb served the same function as “expose” or “pull out.” It wasn’t so different that it would strain a reader to understand the meaning of the sentence, but it ended up being a refreshing way to say something that may otherwise sound boring.
Another example. I have a feature story on Fort Worth’s arts groups coming out next week. In trying to describe Jeremy Joel’s efforts to make Fort Worth a destination, I wrote, “Joel is tying SAM Gallery’s reputation to a regular series of spring and fall art shows that mix local, regional, national, and international artists under one Fort Worth roof.”
Under one Fort Worth roof is more interesting than saying “and international artists in our city.”
When writing, try to state your ideas in ways that are not cliche. The English language is vast enough to allow for a smorgasbord of delicious ideas.