Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?


Embarrassing, right? Besides the misused apostrophe, I mean. 😉

When those awkward what's-the-word moments happen while we're writing, they can seriously derail us. We're authors, after all. We're kind of infamous for spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to find the perfect word. And if we know we know that word but can't think of it, or if none of the words we can think of seem right for the situation--argh! 

Thankfully, there are few ways to keep those elusive words from stopping our progress in its tracks:

  • Put the idea, concept, or whatever you're trying to capture in brackets and keep going. This prevents you from spending all your creative energy on the mystery word and ending up too creatively exhausted to get anything else done in your piece. As long as you don't have crazy numbers of brackets in your manuscript, you can easily come back to the troublesome part later by doing a search. 

  • Example 1: "Why you . . . you little [amusingly childish insult that the villain takes surprisingly personally]!" she said.

  • Example 2: The [which number?] Amendment of the US Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

  • Use the OneLook Thesaurus (https://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml). If you know what a word means but can't think of the word itself, you can type the definition into this tool and get a bunch of possible matches.

  • Example: Just for fun, I tried typing in sea pancake to see what would happen. Here's what came up:

If only the poor OP had known. But then we wouldn't get to laugh at their inventive way of describing this mysterious animal. 😁

If you'd rather get help from a human than a computer (believe me, I know the feeling!), I love helping people find the perfect word. Click here to visit the rest of my website and explore which of my services best fits your needs. 

Write on,