Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Blogger: Editor Jennifer Moody "Choose Your Words Carefully"

Choose Your Words Carefully
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word
is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
~Mark Twain

I read a lot of books (it goes with the territory). I’m open to pretty much any genre (except the really scary horror stuff … I’m a big chicken). Authors who have a true, molded gift for writing can blow me away with their work. Sadly, that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. But oh when it does … I question whether I’m talented enough to read my Kindle while driving down the interstate. (I don’t, of course. Kids – don’t try this at home, er, on the road…)

My daughter makes fun of me because I often refuse to read books that everyone is raving about. Oh, I’ll read them … later. I don’t know why, but I don’t want to read them when everyone else is reading them. So I wait … and read them six months later when all the hootin’ and hollerin’ has subsided. (Twilight and The Hunger Games are two that come to mind.)

Then there are books that I know I will never read, no matter how much people rave about them. For example, I had NO plans of reading 50 shades of anything whatsoever. Everyone I knew was reading it and asking me if I had (um, no), but when will I (um, never). I didn’t care how well it was selling; I know darn well that sales don’t always have anything to do with the quality of work. It wasn’t until an Editor/Author friend asked me if I’d read it to give her my opinion (she wanted to know “what’s the big whoopin’ deal with this book?”) that I relented. By chapter five I could no longer take the horrible word repetition. I could not sit back and just read because every time she described something and followed it with “…oh my,” I thought … Ugh, she said it again! Why didn’t her Editor tell her she’s saying “oh my” too many times?!

It happens 72 times in the book, y’all. SEVENTY-TWO TIMES.

...Enough about that. The point here is, when you’re writing, choose your words carefully. Read, reread, write, rewrite. I know, I know, I’m always saying that, but seriously, think about the picture you’re painting. See if you can re-word it in a way that makes the reader form his own image, rather than always doing it for him.

“Don't tell me the moon is shining;
show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
~Anton Chekhov

The world needs more Anton Chekhovs. You’re out there. I’ve read your work (even if they weren’t talking about it on the morning show; in fact, especially if they weren’t talking about it).

Thank you, to all the wonderful writers out there, for sharing your gift with the world.


Jennifer Moody is a Professional Editor and the Owner of MoodyEdits. To learn more about Jen, visit her website at You might enjoy her take on living a happy life, on her blog “Editing My Life One Day at a Time” at And if you wanted to be nice, you could like her Facebook page at