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Is it wrong to use synonyms to achieve rhythm? (1 Viewer)

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lumino

Senior Member
Let's say you want to write in a certain kind of voice, and using one word in a certain places goes against your goal because of its sound. Is it wrong, then, to use a synonym with a sound that helps you accomplish your goal? Would this be wrong because no two words in the English language mean exactly the same thing, and because you must choose the word with the exact meaning you intend? If it is wrong to use synonyms, then how do you choose the tone or voice of your work? Is it really possible to do this through word order or sentence structure alone?
 

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
No way to make a judgment without a few examples. In general, though, in poetry and straight prose, the words should, as they say, fall tripping from the tongue. One resource I recommend to all kinds of writers is the excerpt on Amazon from Stephen Fry's, The Ode Less Traveled. It's meant for writers of structured poetry, but what he has to say about language usage applies to all kinds of writing.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
Nothing like this is 'wrong' from the outset, though you can do it 'wrong' just as much as you can do anything 'right' in writing. But if your initial thought is 'I might do this wrong', then do it! Take risks! Challenge yourself with new ideas.

But really, this is quite a mundane case of 'yes that's very normal'. With troubles like these, the best thing to do is play around with doing it a few times. Then, shelve those things for a couple of weeks. Set an alarm if you need to. Forget about them. Then, come back and read them fresh. Do they sound okay to you? Then they're fine.

As a writer, you have a strong voice as a reader, but it helps to give yourself time to look at what you write with fresh eyes. Then you can more confidently tell yourself 'I like what I'm doing here' or 'I don't like how I did this'. And that's one of the best ways to slowly develop your style.
 
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