Tag Archive for: Force Words

The Force Behind Words

By Donnell Ann Bell

When I was growing up, I heard often—particularly on the playground–the children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I looked up its origin, which appears to have been around since the 1830s. I suspect whoever coined the phrase meant well, probably devised the rhyme to target bullying. I also believe many an adult used that phrase to assuage a child’s hurt feelings.

Still, the idea that words cannot hurt is a gross misnomer. Spoken or read, words have power. They can infuriate and incite. They can also deter, persuade, motivate, impress, and sadly even bore.

People write to communicate. People read to learn and/or to be entertained. I certainly write books for these reasons. I’m not overt in my opinions. I couch my words and thoughts in fiction. I create characters who may or may not share my views, and while doing so, enlist an arsenal of words.

Many authors have been recognized for the following quote, so I won’t attempt to give credit. But I love the expression, “I write to know what I think.” For me, writing clarifies. As a member of Toastmasters, an organization that focuses on public speaking, I reached the level of Competent Communicator. Other than Table Topics, which concentrated on our ability to ad-lib (at which I was ghastly), I wrote my speeches so I wouldn’t wander into a rambling abyss.

As a reader and a writer, I’m a fan of tight writing. Here’s another quote I appreciate. “Don’t fall in love with your words.” It’s no fun when your critique partner or editor says your research is showing or, this is filler and unnecessary. In effect, editors call the term overwriting. I have a DRAFT/CUT file for every book. Just as a book that lacks critical layering and reads like a draft in which something seems missing, by overwriting you chance your reader saying, “Get to the point,” and putting the book down.

Words may not have the power to influence us physically, but long after those sticks and stones leave bruising, the words tucked inside our mind’s eye lay dormant ready to encourage or diminish. Words are part of a writer’s craft, the writer’s tool chest.  There is a force behind words. I’m not always successful, but I do my best to choose mine carefully.

About the Author:  Donnell Ann Bell writes both romantic suspense and multi-jurisdictional task force plots, keeping close tabs on her theme SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. Her single-title romantic suspense novels, The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, Betrayed, and Buried Agendas, have all been Amazon e-book best sellers.

Traditionally published with Belle Books/Bell Bridge Books, Black Pearl, a Cold Case Suspense was her first mainstream suspense and book one of a series. Her second book in the series, Until Dead, A Cold Case Suspense, released in May of 2022.  Follow her on social media, sign up for her newsletter or follow her blog at https://www.donnellannbell.com