Monday, February 08, 2010


Last week I started a new audiobook* Let the Great World Spin, and I'm enjoying the storytelling so very much. It's captivating.

Within the first few pages/minutes, the "thrum of the subway" was mentioned.

"What a perfect word," I thought. "I should use that word when I'm describing a hum of activity -- either literal or figurative."

Then I heard the word again in the book, and while it was still a wonderfully descriptive word that has a perfect sense of onomatopoeia when said aloud -- it lost some of its "pop."

When I heard it a third time halfway through the book, I was totally over it.

It reminded me that I need to be careful with certain words. I already know that I overuse certain words (as simple as "so") in my writing, but it also reminded me to look for and search out those "power words," yet to be extremely careful not to overuse them.


Melissa at Breath of Life is hosting a new "The Week in Words" carnival each Monday. Here's how she introduced it:

"Although I'm not a wordsmith, I love words. Love them. (Just ask anyone who knows me. I've always got plenty to share.) One of the things I enjoy most is seeing how other people put them together. Think about it. A few carefully crafted words can make you laugh, cry, or dream. They can completely change your perspective and your life.

And I want you to share the words you've found. So I'm creating the "Week in Words" carnival. Playing along is simple, just write a post of the quote(s) that spoke to you during the week (attributed, of course) and link back here. They can be from any written source, i.e. magazine, newspaper, blog, book. The only requirement is that they be words you read."

*from Jennifer -- looks like I'm breaking the rules the first go round, since it was an audiobook I didn't technically "read" it, but even though I listened to it, it really is the written word in my mind. I also know that The Week in Words doesn't really have to be about a word, but rather a quote. This is just what I wanted to share.

It's my blog and I'll do what I want to.

I invite you to subscribe to my feed, or follow me @jenndon on twitter.


barbarah said...

LOL, of course you can do what you want. :-)

I've know what it is to be captivated by a word until it is used so much it loses something. And I tend to overuse certain words as well.

Carrie said...

Yes, I overuse words as well. Writing things down (i.e., keeping a blog) helps me to see this.

Good point today. Glad you did want you wanted to do.

The power of words be preserved!

hip chick said...

it is a very good word. In fact, if I heard it, it would really stand out because it a rare word. However, I think if it was a conversation and not a book on tape, I might just pass over it and not notice it at all.
If it was a word I really read (and just to mention, I don't think it really matters if you read the book or listen to the book being read) it is one of those words that would stop you in your tracks so that you could say it out loud to yourself and figure out how it felt on your tongue.

writer2b said...

Very good point. Some of the best words have to be used sparingly.

That being said, I'm filing away "thrum" for future use. :-)

Janet @ Across the Page

Karyn said...

I've noticed that when listening to an audiobook I am more sensitive to overuse of certain words or phrases than when I am aactually reading the book.

Thrum is a great word - but I agree that it should be used very sparingly in order to retain its impact.

Amy said...

Audiobooks are funny things, aren't they? It's a totally different experience to listen rather than read.

However, I think it counts for The Week in Words!

Susanne said...

"Thrum" is quite a marvelous word but I can understand how you'd be over it hearing it often.

jen said...

I read "Let the Great Word Spin" last summer/fall also and really enjoyed it. We had watched the documentary about the World Trade Center walk several weeks prior to beginning the book so it was interesting to have that background info in my mind as I was reading. Hope you enjoy the whole book.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I think I'd get tired of that word, too. So glad you finally played!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Cheater! :)

Yeah, I think that over-using some words can be overlooked when they're common. (I always over-use "that" and "just," and hope people don't notice too much.) But when it's a special, rare word being overused, it really jumps out at you. But it seems that some authors adopt a favorite word or two and go with them...a little too much.