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On Writing – My Five Favorite Words

I love words. I love some words a lot. Some are versatile enough to use in multiple ways, others are just plain cool. Without further ado, I’d like to present to you my five favorite words.

Word Up - Favorite Words

Frankly  – I believe in honesty. I’ve never been accused of not telling it like it is as I see it. Frankly, when I start a sentence with the word ‘frankly’ I’m about to impart a little of my truth or one of my characters is about to impart theirs.

I haven’t always used the word ‘frankly.’ I picked it up about 20 years or so ago from a co-worker who was fond of prefacing things with, “quite frankly”. It stuck with me over the years and, when I started writing, I found lots of uses for it.

Boobie – I love this word! I have yet to use it effectively in a story for public consumption but someday I will. The reason it makes this list is that every time I hear it used, I think of my son. That’s right, my son. This isn’t going where you think it is. Please hear me out.

When my son was about 2 1/2 or so and talking pretty well his dad and I made a decision that we would teach him the correct names for body parts, no exceptions. We had friends whose children just had crazy names for their private parts and friends whose children used very vulgar names for them. We decided the actual names were the best way to go. Imagine my surprise then one day when I had the boy standing on the bed in the master bedroom while I pulled a shirt over his head when he poked my in the chest and asked, “that your boobie?” quite loudly. His father, who was standing across the room putting on a tie as he dressed for work, about choked himself. I didn’t teach the child the word ‘boobie’ but I know who did! Correct names my eye!

Meanwhile – What a versatile word! I love it as a writer, but more than that, I’ve always loved it. When I was young, I would sometimes sit with my dad as he watched old westerns on TV. When the action would change from a trail scene or something else back to the house, the narrator would say “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” to lead into the new action. That exact phrase became a catchphrase for my mother and for lots of people as it became a part of our national lexicon. I seldom say the full phrase and I never write it, but I use ‘meanwhile’ by itself all of the time.

Personally – When I say ‘personally’ or when one of my protagonists does, you’re about to hear something personal, something private, something that gives you unique insight into what makes me tick or the motivation that a character has. When it comes out, get ready! Juicy information is following it.

My fifth favorite word is actually a short phrase. It’s I see. I love to mix it up and use this in dialog as one of four things:

  1. A phrase to indicate understanding for a character
  2. An acknowledgment of what has been said
  3. A phrase that precedes disagreement or discord between two characters
  4. Sarcasm

As you can see, ‘I see’ is a versatile phrase given the context. There are times that I write it into dialog though and I end up taking it out and going another direction because I mean it in one context, but it comes off sounding like something else.

Those are my favorites. Four of them, you’ll find somewhere in most of the fiction that I write, if I have characters talking to each other. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to work ‘boobie’ into a story!

As a writer, what are your favorite words? Please feel free to share!