Words I don’t like #2

There are some words that I think of as typical creative writing words and have never liked. Words that, to me, say, ‘Hey look at me, I’m writing!’ I’ve never liked the word ‘heft’, for instance, as in ‘he felt the heft of it in his hand.’  It means ‘weight’ doesn’t it?  Why not just say ‘weight’?  No one says ‘heft’ in ordinary speech.

Another one, very unfairly, is ‘grin’, used as a more interesting alternative to ‘smile’.  A perfectly ordinary word, I know, and I do choose it occasionally if I find I’ve used ‘smile’ too often, but I really don’t like it and put ‘smile’ wherever possible.  ‘Grin’ feels to me, for some reason, like one of those words you fall back on in desperation when you’re trying to bring alive a character on the page who doesn’t even feel alive in your head.

3 thoughts on “Words I don’t like #2”

  1. You’re absolutely right. Grin has a distinct (and more slightly more precise) meaining than smile. It is really very unfair of me to pick on an ordinary and perfectly servicable word. But for some reason it grates! Its a bit like that felty stuff they sometimes put on the bottom of things to stop them slipping. Harmless stuff, I know, but I can’t just bear the feel of it

  2. Hey, if we all felt the same way about the same words, all the books would be the same. (Pretty sure that’s how writing works…)

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