Word Building for Writers: Five Tips

Words Scrabble

When writing I find it necessary to consider the words I use to develop my stories; both the meaning of the words and the descriptive power they display.  Considering the power of the meaning of words acts to relay a more exacting word picture to your reader.  The use of words that are vibrant gives your stories the punch needed to grab your readers and keep them interested. Here are some ways to build up your use of such words in your writing.


  1. Listing words that give more punch to your writing. Develop lists of power words divided into verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. You can even be more specific and list words to replace more mundane words, i.e., words to use instead of ‘nice,’ or ‘look.’
  2. Look up definitions. To make sure you are getting the best shade of meaning for a word, look up the definition. You may be surprised that there is an inference that you do not intend to give using a particular word. Example: Using the word ‘cackle’ instead of ‘laugh’ – do you honestly want to infer a shrill noise vs. something that is more gentle like a ‘giggle’ or ‘titter’?
  3. Use a thesaurus. I find using a thesaurus helps me when I am stuck finding a more powerful word or one which will make my meaning clearer. It helps me to find words which I wouldn’t necessarily use otherwise.
  4. Pay attention to word ‘roots.’ I studied Latin the during my school days, and it has been very helpful to me to understand and properly use words. Knowing things like the difference between ‘pre’ and ‘per’ – one means ‘beforehand’ as in preschool, the other means ‘thoroughly’ as in perfect.
  5. Be careful not to overuse. Try not to depend on a handful of powerful words, instead keep adding to your list of power words to build your vocabulary and make your writing fresh.


I hope this has been helpful to you in your writing. Comments are always welcome.

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