Monday, January 4, 2010

Using The Right Words

Okay, so over the break I read five books. I tend to go in spurts in my reading because I have a hard time reading and working on my own writing. So when I find myself burned out beyond belief on revisions, I turn to books. Funny how I never feel "burned out" on writing, but I haven't written anything new for ages. But, well, that's another story for another day.

I really enjoyed the books I read. But there was one that absolutely captivated me.

The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem.




I highly recommend it to anyone who is a lover of words.

Because, holy blazes, the woman knows how to use the right words to tell the story.

Masterful.

And that's the kind of author I want to be. Not one that just has an amazing story (which The Unnameables does) or compelling characters (another check for Ms. Booraem), but one that when people read the book, they'll go, "Ah, this author knows how to use the right words to build the story."

Because that's how powerful words are. They're an author's tools.

I love books like The Unnameables because they're tutorials on how to use my tools the most effectively.

What do you look for when reading? Are you looking for ways to use the right words? How?

Oh! And I'm doing a monthly newsletter for 2010. I added a little linky thing in my sidebar, right below my profile. I'm going to be collecting the best blog posts, announcing contests, discussing hot topics in publishing and sharing news of my book (when I have some). So sign up, okay? Okay. I'm so excited for the new decade!

31 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I love reading a book that leaves me in awe like that. Inspiration at its best.

beth said...

Oh, MAN. I've got to read that book. I keep meaning to...and keep forgetting. I'm off to add it to GoodReads right now!

Scott said...

First - you're way too organized and you're scaring me.

Second - I love reading books that so overwhelm me with their brilliance that I don't ever want to reach the last page. Those books, unfortunately, are few and far between.

Words are a very powerful tool, and using them correctly, every single time, is a talent we all might have . . . one day!

Great post.

S

Lizzy Mason said...

Hooray for your newsletter! :)

I'm adding this book to my library list right now! Thanks for the heads up!

Lisa and Laura said...

Ooh, very excited for your newsletter and will definitely check out this book!

Christina Lee said...

Oh goodo ne-thanks-on my lsit now. I also ahve been very busy reading over teh break. I also look for ways to use words and also look for some validation that I am on the right track--know what I mean?

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. Always looking for a good read :)

Jen Chandler said...

Hooray for a newsletter! I love 'em :)

I'll have to check out that book. I love reading something that whisks me away, not only to another world, but through language. I love reading books written in another century or written as if they were. There's something about precise, old style usage of English that captivates me. I do so love words!

Happy Monday,
Jen

T. Anne said...

Oh I'm going to get that book! I need something like that and plus I love the cover ;)

Southpaw said...

I use to read for pure pleasure. I still do, but not I seem to analyze everything.

Danyelle said...

I'm so going to have to read that!

That's why I love Patricia McKillip so much. She is to me what you put in your list. Don't you love it when you find a wordsmith like that?

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I try to turn off the writer when I'm reading as much as I can, but I do keep a notebook by my bed when I come across a great word (especially a verb) that I never think to use but that could work so well.

Susan R. Mills said...

I turn to books when I get tired of revisions too, which I am about now. I think I'll have to get that book. It sounds good.

Tamika: said...

Congratulations on the newsletter! I'm looking forward to it.

Books that transport me in time are always a plus. I love writers that captivate with their words. I'm aiming for the same thing!

Jessica said...

Eeek! I was totally planning to do a post about using the right verbs. Watch out for that, LOL.
This is an excellent post though and it's so true. Words are how the reader perceives things. The wrong word can make a huge difference. And I don't mean grammatically wrong, just the feel of the word and whatever image it evokes. The right one can make a sentence, and a whole bunch of right ones make a great read. I've never heard of this book but hopefully will get to read it sometime. :-)

MG Higgins said...

A newsletter on top of everything else you do? You're an inspiration! And yes, I'm always looking for the best ways to use words.

Nisa said...

I can't wait to read that book and I'm looking forward to your News Letter too. What a great idea!

L.T. Elliot said...

I'll really have to find that book. I love words and I love when they're used well. Thank you!

Casey McCormick said...

I added it to my to-read pile on Goodreads. Thanks Elana!

Steena Holmes said...

Another book to add to my list ;)

Bethany Wiggins said...

I think in learning to use words, less is more.

Amy Tate said...

Thanks, Elana! I'll add it to the pile.

Christina Lee said...

Came back here to get the correct spelling of the book - it wasn't showing up in my Kindle for iPhone-- and now I see MY horrible spelling in my previous comment--Ughh!! :0

PJ Hoover said...

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever. I really need to pick it up and read it one of these days!

ElanaJ said...

Scott - organized? Me? Mwa ha ha! I have you fooled!

And everyone, you should totally read it and then drop me a line so I know what you thought.

I really enjoyed it. :)

Katie Ganshert said...

I've never heard of this one. I'll have to check that out. I'm trying to come up with a list of 12 awesome books to read, one for each month, during 2010. That might just have to be one of them.

I so want to be that t ype of a writer too! Words = power. And quite often, less = more.

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a great book! I do love well written books :) When the language, as well as the story speak to me, it's such a wonderful combination!

Christine Fonseca said...

I look for the same things you do, twin! And I can't wait to read that book. Can.Not.Wait...(Guess I better finish the one I am reading first!)

ali said...

I LOVE books like that! Thanks for the recommend Elana!

And very cool on your new newsletter thingy :) Coolness!

Megan said...

Being a non-professional writer, for me when I read those lines that take my breath away, there's a kind of mystery to it that makes it even more fun. Like, I have no idea how they came up with something so genius, but as a reader, I'm very glad they did.

Sasha said...

Have you read "Beloved" by Toni Morrison? Sure, it is a classic but Morrison's words are a song! When I was reading the book 2,5 years ago, I copied parts out of the book, learned them by heart and wanted the people near me to enjoy them too. Morrison knows words. "Beloved", actually, was the first work that I sincerely enjoyed in English. In fact, I don't think that I had ever loved a book in ANY language the way I loved "Beloved". If you have not experienced this masterpiece, please take a walk to the library next time you have a break for reading. And, well, if you have read "Beloved", please tell me what you thought if it. Thank you!

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