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The purpose may be to induce a particular response in the reader’s minds

2 min read

Hey, remember “Look for language” in the steps we discussed in the previous post?

Check this out:

“To say that a word has meaning is to say that it has purpose. The purpose may be to signify something—that is, to refer to an object or person other than the writer, to an abstract conception such as ‘democracy,’ or to a thought or feeling in the writer’s mind. On the other hand, the purpose may be to induce a particular response in the readers’ minds or to establish an appropriate relationship between the writer and those readers.”

in The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing

So, this is it; there are three modes of meaning for words: what it signifies, what it represents to the writer, and what the writer wants the reader to feel.

As I write this, focusing on an audience of writers, I can’t think of how important this is for readers, too. So, if you’re reading this right now, reader or writer, please be aware of this:

WORDS have an impact. Good writers learn how to use them to cause an effect, but they should never underestimate a reader’s intelligence. And readers have to learn that good writers use words to cause an effect, so it’s amazing when they make you believe in fiction, but it’s dangerous when they make you believe in THEIR version of reality.

That’s why I always say that reading and writing are superpowers. Because when you read well, you have the power to understand a world critically, and when you write well, you have to power to create a world inside and outside your writing.

If you take diction as a force, remember, a WRITER’S “strength flows from the force, but beware: anger, fear, aggression – the dark side, are they.” May the force be with you.

■ Now, here’s the tricky question, young padawan: do you always know how to identify keywords in a text and their effects? Do you know when it’s the dark side of the force speaking louder? I mean, do you know when writers use words with a crafty purpose ON YOU?

Best,

João

first on @beardbetweenthelines ↓

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