Friday, January 7, 2011

Words Say So Much

When I'm working on fiction, I keep dictionary.com open on my laptop. I plug words in a dozen or more times a day, when I need to make sure a meaning applies in the way I need it to, or to get a full feel of a term's nuance. I like, too, that if I'm undecided about what to say, I can track one definition to the next and find something fantastic.

So anyway, I look up a lot of words. I think it's entertaining to look back at them, to see at what kind of story they hint. Here are some recent ones:

adulterous
berth
attorney
paralegal
comatose
humidor
stogie
pomp
apparition
obtuse
carnal
accounting

And then there are Google topic searches:

upright pianos
medical conditions
Gershwin
occupational therapy
trial separation
CPA

Sort of cryptic, don't you think? Can you tell by these words and terms that I write women's fiction? I wouldn't think so, and that fascinates me.

What kind of story would you create out of the above?

28 comments:

Susan R. Mills said...

I think those words would go nicely in a financial thriller. :)

Tess said...

yes, I agree w/ Susan... stogie, humidor, attorney, accounting...

sounds like a Grisham novel.

April said...

I don't have anything to add to the above comments, but I do agree it's quite amusing to look at those things, especially for me the Google searches, while I'm writing. What in the world did writers do without Google?

Joanne said...

I love researching, even word meanings. It has such a way of layering the story when we bring that research somehow to the page.

Rhonda Schrock said...

Oooo, I just love words! Thesaurus.com is one of my favorite resources.

Your list could make a riveting tale of love gone bad, a tragic accident, and the dark side of human nature mixed with an arrogant, pipe-smoking lawyer. John Grisham, be afraid. Be veerrry afraid!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Ooooh, I love the word "obtuse!!!" It's one of my favorite to use when my husband makes sense to himself, but not to me: "Quit being so obtuse," I sigh.

I love that you love words.

Karen said...

HA! I would have to write a comedy, or slapstick. An upright piano and a CPA? chuckle.....

Wendy Paine Miller said...

The stogie gave it away for women's fiction! :D

Happy weekend.
~ Wendy

Melissa Gill said...

that's a very interesting exercise. I've never though to do that. What intriguing words and topics you've looked up.

Lynda Young said...

Sounds like a thriller to me. I love words and making sure of their true meaning is so important.

Ann Best said...

I can't think of a story off the top of my head, but I'm intrigued with how you keep Dictionary.com open as you write. It's amazing the resources available to us through the Internet!! As April says, what would we do without Google? Or Wikipedia, I might add. I love especially to read about people I "knew" as I grew up who are gone.

Words, words, words. They're awesome.

Mary Vaughn said...

Those words say mystery/thriller to me.

Robyn Campbell said...

These words definitely do NOT go with what you write. Though the more I think about them, I guess they could. But I agree with Tess and Susan. Most assuredly sounds like a Grisham novel.

Great post, woman! :) My laptop isn't connected to the internet when I'm writing. *sigh*

DL Hammons said...

A couple was having passionate monkey sex on top of an upright player piano (one of them was committing adultery) with a Gershwin show tune playing, when tragedy struck. The piano suddenly collasped and the man was seriously injured. With her lover now in a coma, the woman paralegal must face the legal consequences of they're carnal actions inside one of the most prestigious CPA firms in Chicago.

How's that?

Deb Shucka said...

I was thinking a great mystery could be woven around those words. I love searching for just the right word just as much as I love being tickled by the perfect word choice when I'm reading.

Tabitha Bird said...

Very interesting. Actually the words 'trial separation' did make me think of women's fiction.

Kathryn Magendie said...

STOGIE! :-D

septembermom said...

Research is such a great friend to the writer. I think a love triangle in Wall Street would be interesting.

Patti Lacy said...

Janna, Wow.
You never know what you'll find here!

Sometimes I love researching for just the right word, and other times, I'm steamed because even with all the tools, I just can't find THE RIGHT WORD!!
Blessings, dear one.

Erin MacPherson said...

Oh my goodness... so cryptic. But fascinating. I almost have to say that if I picked up a book that just had that word list on the back, I'd be intrigued enough to buy it just to figure out how they all related.

Kara said...

I love everyones take on these words. This would be a wonderful writing exercise with a creative writing class. Everyone could share their lists and have others write a story. Fun! Thanks for sharing;)

Terri Tiffany said...

Not at all but woman have all kinds of things that happen to them too:)

Janna Qualman said...

You guys have great ideas! Love the thoughts here.

And I'm so glad these words drew everyone in. This is good!

Don... I think I'll let you write that one. ;)

Jill Kemerer said...

Oh cool, but I was totally getting medical suspense from those words. Love it!

Karen Lange said...

Oh wow, what a great prompt this would make! We can weave stories out of most anything, and that's just part of the fun of being a writer. :)

Blessings,
Karen
P.S. Have a little something for you over on my blog.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janna -

I can see a murder mystery developing. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Amy Sue Nathan said...

When I'm writing fiction I keep my Flip Dictionary less than an arm's reach away. It's not really a dictionary and not really a thesaurus, it's a combination in a way. If you're looking for a cool reference tool, look it up on Amazon. :)

Sharla said...

I agree about the Grisham novel! I was thinking it sounded like a twist on The Firm.