Word of the Day: Unhesitating
Definition: Not hesitating
Found at Free Dictionary and Merriam Webster
In a sentence: The firefighters responded to danger with unhesitating courage.
Unhesitating isn’t a word I use often, despite taking on certain tasks with breakneck, unchecked enthusiasm. I came across it when I was working on my National Novel Writing Month challenge.
It’s one of those words that seems easy to use, but yet, I don’t use it.
Why? I usually choose the simplest, easiest path when I’m writing and speaking.
I think this can be a strength because I want readers to understand and enjoy my work without being jarred out of it by a word they don’t recognize.
However, there have been times when I’ve used words that readers didn’t understand.
I had the father of two teen readers tell me “ensorcelled” wasn’t a real word after he read my first book.
Ensorcell means to bewitch or enchant. You can find it in online dictionaries and many fantasy books.
However, this father wasn’t familiar with most fantasy novels, so he didn’t recognize the word as a “real” word.
Did I use the word “ensorcell” to confuse readers or throw them out of the story or get lectures by irritated fathers?
No, most definitely not. It somehow popped into my brain when I was writing my first book. It made it through seven drafts and a proofread. While there were things missed on that proofread, “ensorcell” never came up as a problem.
I still like the word. I don’t think it’s particularly jarring. However, one member of my reading audience did.
Do I stop and change the book because of one reader’s dislike of an unfamiliar word?
Do I freeze when I write because a reader didn’t like one word?
No, and no.
In this circumstance, in a fantasy book using a fantasy-specific word, I think it is still the right word.
When I write and find errors, do I stop writing?
Well, it does give me long pause and cause some writer’s block, but I have found, if I want to write and finish projects, I need to have unhesitating courage about getting words on the page. National Novel Writing Month helps me with that challenge.
I have found, if I want to write and finish projects, I need to have unhesitating courage about getting words on the page.Tweet
In the revision, editing, and proofreading process, I hope I find anything truly jarring and pull it out. I definitely want to be considerate of my readers in the language I use.
But again, for drafting, I enjoy the process when I write without hesitation.
What about you? Do you carefully select each word as you write, or do you leave those word choice dilemmas for later drafts?
By the way, I used the word “ensorcelled” twice in Champion in the Darkness. Once, I used it to describe an enchanted object. The second time, I used it to describe a bewitched king.
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- The 2023 New Year’s Kickoff Blitz!
- The Writing Short Stories Weekly Class at Tacoma Community College. Registration is live!
Here’s wishing you a wonderful day, and a Merry Christmas!