Sticks, Clubs, Wands -
All are invited:
"Honestly, Teacher, I didn't know the word was loaded!"
One of the skills of a writer is to select words freighted with just the right extra connotations to add to the meaning intended -- carefully loaded words. The aim of this exercise is to increase your awareness of this particular word-game. By the end, you will:
1) Be more alert to how other poets are influencing your thoughts and feelings by their choice of words;
2) Be more able to vary the effect of your own writing by the conscious choice of words.
The same object, scene or experience can be described with entirely different effects, by the varied choice of noun, adjective, verb and adverb.
The lost wind moaned in the lone tree.
We all want to affect our readers. We usually know what effect we want to create. If I am writing a steamy, sensuous passage, and my lover "strokes my skin with skeletal fingers", I've just broken the mood -- unless I was striving for a "memento mori, in the midst of life we are in death" effect.
When we intend to make readers weep in pity, we do not want to hear them gagging in disgust. When we intend to inspire and uplift, we do not want to hear giggling. When we intend to amuse, we don't expect cries of outrage - like the ones that greeted the Air Force announcement quoted at the beginning.
Exercise: Loaded WordsNote each choice of words in the following passage that helps to build the effect of beauty and enchantment:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
We are now going to assault Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Having identified the words that build the sense of beauty and enchantment for you, select a different effect to aim for, and achieve it by replacing the selected words with others that are loaded differently.
Or you can think of one - but make it exaggerated.