Improper Words

Today’s writing exercise is a mind workout. It’s a simple process, that for me really opens my mind to new word choice possibilities.

Here we go:

  • First grab a dictionary.
  • Flip to any page you want.
  • Randomly choose a word from the page.
  • Now, use the word in a sentence, but change the part of speech it normally is to another one. So, if the word is a noun, use it as an adjective, or a preposition.
  • Do any part of speech, but try to maintain a similar meaning or at least a meaning you would expect that word to have in the new form.

Colors are a good example. You hear about a leaf greening, or a face yellowing, what would be oranging?

How about the sun oranging the street?

What about the word corolla – a noun meaning the petals of a flower?

What if a building had no windows on the first floor, but the higher up you looked the more windows there were and the tighter together they were built? What if they seemed to curve together and make up the whole top of the building. Could the windows be corolla windows?

Not only is it a word that evokes specific imagery but the vowels smooth over from one word to another. Corolla windows.

Words are limitless.

I always joke with Justin that my English degree certifies me to change the language at my will.

The truth is (I love this topic, if you can’t tell) language changes by anyone’s will.

Obviously, I think there is importance in the proper way of writing and using the language -proper spelling, grammar and all that, but I think about how fun it is to manipulate the language as well and really-how important it is too. Creatively changing the language to meet the needs of a writer wanting to express a very specific idea makes using words in uncommon ways important, as an exercise of the creative mind and a practice for writers pushing envelopes like e.e. Cummings and Shakespeare.

What are some of your favorite uncommon, improper uses of words?

 

Also, check out a review for my poetry collection by Michelle Proulx! A big thank you goes out to her for reading and letting people know about it.

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4 thoughts on “Improper Words

  1. jadamspas says:

    Hello Liz, my name is Jon. I am an adherent of your work, and I enjoy reading your blog entries. Recently I’ve taken steps in learning how to write poetry, and have become a little frustrated with some the resources. I am currently reading a book entitled: How to Write Poetry, but this book does not answer the simple questions I have about writing. I’m believe you can provide me clarity.

    Q#1. When writing a rough draft do you include line breaks, or do you write the sentence and then incorporate line breaks?

  2. jadamspas says:

    Hello Liz, my name is Jon. I am an adherent of your work, and I enjoy reading your blog entries. Recently I’ve taken steps in learning how to write poetry, and have become a little frustrated with some of the resources. I am currently reading a book entitled: How to Write Poetry, but this book does not answer the simple questions I have about writing. I’m believe you can provide me clarity.

    Q#1. When writing a rough draft do you include line breaks, or do you write the sentence and then incorporate line breaks?

  3. Hi Jon! Thanks so much for following my writing 🙂 In answer to your question, it’s all about how you feel you get the best work. The writing process is different for everyone, so you’ll want to try writing a few different ways. You’ll learn what process helps you most. For me, I like to write my rough drafts with line breaks. It helps me focus on where I want the reader to pause -which is one of the major benefits of writing poetry rather than prose. You gain the freedom to direct your reader how you want them to read your words. So my suggestion would be to focus on exactly how you want your words to sound, focus on the pauses and the rhythm. Maybe a good exercise would be to take a few songs you like and read the lyrics out loud – that’s always something that helps me write.

    Also, I’m not sure if your book, How to Write Poetry, has an exercises, but if it does not you can either check out The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood (which is just a small book filled with little exercises and inspirations) or just visit http://creativewritingprompts.com/ (which has nearly 350 different exercises to work from)

    If you have any other questions or if you ever want me to read some of your work, feel free to message me or email me as well.

    Thanks again for reading my blogs!

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