Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Word Garden

Posted by Linda

Each year my critique group revives its perennial potluck dinner at the last meeting before the Christmas season begins. Sometimes we share small handmade mementos such as a wishbone with an attached wish that each person’s year cultivates success. One year we fed our writing landscape with a writer’s white elephant exchange. On my bookshelf sits the gift of a flower bud made from buttons and clipped letters which planted the seed for my word garden.

I harvest words from pleasure reading, research books,  thesaurus, Flip Dictionary, the computer, and the wordsmiths in my critique group. I’m not as much of a wordsmith as they so I propagate my garden from their expertise.

My main crop consists of action words. The critique members know I weed out inactive verbs in the manuscripts they read as well as those I write. I uproot "ly" words and replace them with active verbs.

My gardening abilities still need work. My word lists wilt and disappear among the weeds on my desk so I do a lot of repotting. As with this article, Google serves as my gardener’s manual. Themed word searches provide mulch for the word crop I sow whether it be a gardening article or a western book. New word lists sprout with every article or book idea. 

Books of quotes aerate and fertilize my writing. Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan provides fodder for descriptive writing. Children's Writer's Word Book pollinates my children's prose. I read famous writer Willa Cather for examples of painting pictures with words. Her prolific word garden inspires better description in my writing.

I continually prune, hoe, feed, and deadhead my word garden. How does your word garden grow? 

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