What a Difference a Word Makes

Pen is Mightier

“Some of the greatest battles will be fought
within the silent chambers of your own soul.” — Ezra Taft Benson

– – – – –

March 17 was my deadline—St. Patrick’s Day for most, but Evacuation Day in Massachusetts. Evacuation Day commemorates the departure of British forces from Boston during the Revolutionary War. It seemed an appropriate date, since this was the day my recently-completed writing project would depart my desk after five years in captivity.

You may recall, from a few months ago, that I’ve been working on some unfinished business. The liberation includes a number of leftover creative projects from the last chapter of my life—it’s time for them to go. This writing project, a short-story/memoir piece, is the first to be discharged.

On Thursday, I was to send out the final draft to a small group of readers with the hope that it floats as a good story, as good reading.

But there was this one rebel sentence that would not fall in line. One dissenter that stood up and said “I AM NOT FINISHED YET.”

This one sentence—one word in particular—has been a rabble-rouser from the start, demanding that I rethink my plan of attack, over and over and over again.

As a writer, I know the importance of that one word. A whole campaign can be won or lost by a word. Word choice is the ally of the characters—how you see them, understand their struggles, empathize with them, all hinges on the words writers use to tell their story.

One renegade word, one turncoat phrase, can alter the balance of power on the pages, and alter the balance of the writer’s intention.

And so on Wednesday, 24 hours before d-day, I subdued that upstart sentence by rewriting it completely! Ha!

But victory was short lived.

At the dawn of this new sentence, I could see before me the changing battle lines—there was a different story to be forged now.

– – – – –

“Life is a lively process of becoming.” — Douglas MacArthur

6 thoughts on “What a Difference a Word Makes

  1. They say the right word should come immediately and you should never use a Thesaurus – If you need one of those, it’s not the right word. Personally I’m not sold on that!

    1. Hey, those are the same folks who say not to wear white shoes after Labor Day aren’t they? : )

      I love my Thesaurus – it makes me feel like I am stretching brain muscles! You?

  2. what a wonderful deconstruction of the difficult act of writing, accompanied by the appropriate illustration from another time in history when people depended nearly as much on the written word as they do today

    brava, mi amiga ~ brava!

    ti ja be gi

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