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Language is a fundamentally important part of writing. You can’t have writing without language after all.
But when it comes to writing, language is more than just the words, it’s about the choices you make when there are multiple options. Word choice can completely change the tone or connotation of your sentence. It can also change the audience of your piece as a whole if you make certain language choices, like using profanity.
Sometimes word choice can be dictated by your genre. A fantasy wouldn’t use terms that are super modern or reference technologies that don’t exist in your fantasy world. Similarly, a science fiction story wouldn’t use archaic language or terms about magic. A young adult story wouldn’t use much searing, and anything aimed at even younger readers would have none at all.
Word choice can also be more subtle. Was the person across the street yelling or shouting? While the words refer to a very similar action, they evoke a slightly different connotation for the reader. Your specific word choice and the patterns within it are part of what make up your unique style and voice as an author. It’s something to think about, especially when you’re starting out and first getting a feel for your abilities and what you want to write.
Word choice can completely change the way the story is told. It can be the difference between telling the readers about a character’s actions in a sentence, a paragraph, or even a page. Some authors work on these word choice options as they write, and others go back and adjust the word choice as they are revising and editing. I do a little bit of both.
When do you work on your word choice the most?