I suspect that writers like words. I certainly do. I like anything and everything about words. Reading and writing, of course, but also word games like Scrabble, Wheel of Fortune, and Jumbles. My children and I even made up a game to play while we’re in the car. We named it “Esrever” and it consists of reading road signs and business signs backward. ‘Stop’ became ‘Pots’, ‘exit’ became ‘tixe’ (tykes), and ‘City Limits’ became ‘ytic (it-ick) stimil’. You get the idea. Not only was it playing with words but provided great brain stimulation.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved getting lost in dictionaries. When opening a dictionary with the intention of looking up a word I get sidetracked and can read pages of words before I get around to finding the one I originally meant to pursue.
Then there are spoonerisms. A ‘spoonerism’ is when you take the start of one syllable or word and switch it with the beginning of the second syllable or word. I had a natural inclination to use spoonerisms without realizing what they were. I’ve turned coat hanger into ‘hoat canger’. I embarassed myself at my first holiday dinner with my husband-to-be’s extended family when the ladies were discussing the use of leftovers. I told them I loved “chickey and turken” gravy on toast. My oldest daughter did a variation on spoonerisms when she was young. Her toothpicks became “picktooths” and her pickup (truck) became a “keepup”. I used to delight in listening to a storyteller by the name of Archie Campbell. He used spoonerisms to retell fairy tales. My favorite was “Rindercella and her two sisty-uglers.” Archie Campbell has passed on but fortunately for us who loved the stories his son Phil is now telling the spoonerism-laden fairy tales.
As much as I like words I get impatient reading authors who pad their sentences and paragraphs with unnecessary verbage. Charles Dickens was a prime example of this. “A Tale of Two Cities” first page consisted of only one sentence that went on and on. I much prefer Ernest Hemingway with his terse sentence structure.
It is a challenge to write with meaning using as few words as possible. A challenge I gladly take up and one where I have room for improvement. How about you? Do you pad your work with unnecessary words or do you try to convey your thoughts in as few words as possible?