I’ll be writing about the video How important is a big vocabulary? Advice on how to write a book and get a bigger vocabulary, from the Writing, Talking, And Dog Walking series I’m doing on YouTube with Jonathan McKinney.
Viewer Gareth Shelley asked a question about how important a big vocabulary is when you want to write a book, and how you can overcome the problem of a small vocabulary to become a better writer.
First of all you have to work out who your audience is. If you are writing for children you vocabulary wouldn’t need to be as big, as children’s books use more simple language and smaller words in order to appeal and be accessible to the children they’re targeted at.
Secondly, it’s possible to have a big vocabulary in a specialised subject. I mostly write urban fantasy so I have an extensive vocabulary when it comes to that subject and I can write easily about witches, vampires, magic, demons etc. But I cannot write about Ancient Russia without some research. Your vocabulary can be specialised around one subject and that can be the subject you choose to write about.
Research New Words
If you want to grow you vocabulary in a simple way, to make your book more entertaining and less repetitive, Google is your friend. Google synonyms for certain words or phrases that you’re prone to using and find alternatives.
Word research allows you to grow your vocabulary on the job, you’ll be learning new words, and more interesting words, that you can then have at your disposal in future.
Don’t Let Your Insecurity Stop You
If you focus on a perceived weakness, such as a smaller than ideal vocabulary, it can stifle the creative process. I would highly recommend writing your book as best you can, with what words and ideas you have, and then make full use of the editing process.
When you edit , you can go over your manuscript with a thesaurus or dictionary, and improve your work. If you have lots of characters do a certain thing or say a certain thing, you’ll notice it during your editing process and then find news ways of describing it to keep your writing fresh and interesting.
Read All The Time
An important thing to remember is that the more you read, the better your writing will become. When you read the work of other writers, you’ll build up your vocabulary and learn new ways of describing things and interesting ways to use our language.
If you’re reading on a Kindle, it comes with a function that allows you to look up the meaning of words you’re unfamiliar with directly. If you’re reading a paperback, don’t be afraid to look up words you don’t recognise. Read as much as you can and it’ll have a positive impact on your own ability to tell stories.
But ultimately, you’ll have to work through this fear. Don’t be too afraid to write. Use the language at your disposal and then the more you write, the more you read, and the more you develop your skills at editing the better your writing will become.
You can find more writing advice on our YouTube channel where we’ll help you become a better and more confident writer. If you have any writing questions, comment below and we will try to do a video for every question we get. If you’ve found my work helpful, please consider dropping me a tip in my Paypal tip jar to help me keeping bringing you free writing advice!