Thursday, 9 August 2012

Vocabulary For Pacing And Mood

Catherine meandered through the park.  Dogs panted in the deep shade of the cypress trees, tongues lolling and beside the still green pond ducks waddled, faintly quacking.

Cath skittered through the park.  Dogs yapped and scrapped around the dustbins, and beside the wind-ruffled pond, the ducks grabbed for the last crumbs of bread.

Same scene, different vocabulary = different mood, different pace.

Verbs are the most useful - compare meander with skitter, panted with yapped, lolling with scrapped.  They sound different, feel different in the mouth when you say them.  Meander is a slow word, skitter is fast although they have exactly the same number of letters.

The vocabulary you choose helps in controlling pace and mood as well as creating pictures; choose your words carefully.


Liz Fielding said...

Great post. The dh always complains about the pause for sex scene in thrillers. I tell him it's so that you can catch your breath before the big action sequence. He's not convinced!

Sarah Duncan said...

Liz, I love the idea that the sex scenes are where the reader pauses for breath. They'll have to be soft and gentle ones!