The write stuff of another kind, Philip Kaufman’s seminal 1983 movie “The Right Stuff,” was the story of America’s first steps into space. The movie also served as a reminder of the high cost of sending men into space.
Writing the right stuff is very much the same. The “lives lost,” in this case, are those “babies,” as Virginia Wolfe calls them, going on to say in so many words those favorite passages are the first thing writers must “kill” when writing prose. Like boulders along a river’s bed, writers can’t afford to have favorite passages impeding their ability to flow the story.
The figurative cost to writers is the elimination of words and phrases which don’t belong in a particular work of prose, faction or fiction. Stopping to consider a certain word, as to whether or not it belongs in the passage, is a time-consuming (costly) adjustment.
Two tools which are a most important part of my writing process are a dictionary and a thesaurus. I choose not to write anything without them at hand, and they speed up the word choice considerations considerably.
Formerly, I would have each open and ready at each side of my keyboard. Fortunately, technology has reduced their size to a software program containing both features, side by side, enabling me to flip between screens on my computer, in my ongoing search for the perfect word.
This practice has created two new opportunities, of which I take advantage on a daily basis. Adding new definitions to my understanding of a word; and, introducing me to synonyms of word.
Opening the flower of language to me in ways I hadn’t before considered (contemplated, reflected on, examined, reviewed; mulled over, pondered, deliberated on, chewed over, meditated on, ruminated on; assessed, evaluated, appraised).
Words which I call, The Write Stuff.