Vocabulary isn't just a big word, it's lots of 'em

The choice of vocabulary used in writing short stories is one of the keys to each story's success. The words used may also determine the number and intellect of the readers. Try to determine up-front how your child wants to portray an idea and help it along once you read the following.

Say you encountered this phrase in a story... "With the finesse of a ballerina she twirled about to meet his gaze and ever so gently swooned at his statuesque dominance." Yuck, though it might appeal to some. This is like reading a Harlequin Romance and thereby tells you something of the readership. Sorry, my bad.

Let's try again... "She gracefully spun around to catch his eye as he stood with confidence before her." It's a little easier on the tongue and also seems to say a little more about the characters, yet in a smaller space.

And finally..."She glanced over her shoulder and saw him all puffed up like a peacock." Slightly different mood don't ya think? The same events basically happened but we can read many different things into them by the way they are told.

The phrases are as important as the words used. And how they go together is obviously crucial. For example, you wouldn't dare say "She smelled like day old lilacs" when you could otherwise say "She caressed my senses like lilacs in full bloom". Or, depending on the writer, "She stunk sickly sweet". Crude but effective.

The point is that, as you progress through the challenges of writing short stories with your child, pay attention to the words used, as well as the phrases. Check out the Etymology of common phrases for verification.

Keep the reader's attentiveness and the writer's intentions in mind.

Keep your skills limber with these word puzzles.

Return from Vocabulary to Short Stories Help Children

Any comments?

Get exclusive content by subscribing to my newsletter