Improve Your Writing Style by Becoming a Wordsmith

Words have power

Improve your writing style by learning to master words. Words are powerful. They evoke moods in your readers. If inappropriate words are used, communication becomes muddy, and people become confused.

By focusing on becoming a master in the use of words, you can earn the self-ascribed title of a wordsmith. With this skill, you will greatly improve your writing style.

So, as a wordsmith, what will you do? You will create great works, of course. Words are the building blocks of sentences. Sentences comprise your essays, short stories, scripts, novels, memoirs, and more.

Let’s take a look at how words, strung together masterfully, create awesome prose.

Ellison starts his story by agonizing over his plight of being “an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe, nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (p. 3).

Ellison’s word choices create a mood in us. We feel his agony. We can relate to it on some level.  The word ectoplasms is a curious word that we don’t hear every day. His other words are more common, but the way he strings them together—like fiber and liquids—create that mood in us that’s telling.

Crichton gives us a sneak peek at his writing style saying that “The Costa Ricans were not especially superstitious, but she had heard the lupia mentioned in the village before. They were said to be night ghosts, faceless vampires who kidnapped small children” (p. 5).

Crichton, like Ellison, does not use many descriptions or sophisticated words. And again like Ellison, Crichton’s style intrigues us with his word choices. We would gladly follow him deeper into his story because we want to hear more about the lupia, these night ghosts. We want to know more about the vampires in relation to the small children.

Use descriptions sparingly, and when you do use them, have them make a solid impact. If you use too many descriptions, you’ll give your audience the feeling of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Many simple words joined together make a significant impact.

Improve Your Writing Style by
Becoming a Hunter, a Hunter of Words

Cartoon man studying

As a wordsmith, you will become a hunter of words. These words will enrich your writing style. They will instill in your reader a mood and an understanding that you intend to convey.

Don’t confuse using big words with being proficient in writing. Don’t get me wrong; big words have their place and so do simple ones. A sentence chocked full of words like phantasmagorical will stop your reader and have her scrambling for a dictionary. This may become a chore for her and bad news for you. Eventually, she’ll stop reading. Sure, if you’re writing a piece that deals with something phantasmagorical, use the word or a few like them.

Here are two examples to illustrate my point.

Improper use: Jake shopped for food at the town’s most popular pet store. His intent was to help his Rottweiler, Reggie, lose weight. It was phantasmagoric.

Proper use: The alien spaceship was an electric blue sliver, slicing through the sky. It soon hovered over the village. It was clear that the spacecraft had arrived from a phantasmagoric realm.

Since Jake was not thinking in terms of something otherworldly, the word phantasmagoric didn’t fit. The term did fit when talking about aliens. Context is everything.

If you’re not writing a children’s book, your words and sentences need to reflect that of a more mature audience’s comprehension level. Here are two examples.

Weak sentence: Jennifer only went to the restaurant because it was supposed to be good, but she didn’t like the food one bit.

Stronger sentence: The restaurant had a stellar reputation for steak and loaded baked potatoes, but Jennifer found the steak as tough as buffalo hide.

Notice that in the weak sentence there are no adjectives. The sentence lacks depth.  The stronger sentence gives us meaningful descriptions through the use of adjectives; however, take care not to stuff your writing with them. A few well-chosen ones will do.

Where do you find words that will improve your writing style? Great words are ubiquitous. Hunt for them. When you’re improving your writing, you’ll read lots of books. Note certain words that resonate with you, and jot them down for future use. Even during conversations with someone or while watching television, you’ll find these words. They reside in dictionaries and thesauruses. Capture them on your notepad or on other storage devices. Subscribe to Internet sites that feature their Word of the Day.

Here are just a few words I captured. Of course, my list is endless. Yours will be, too.

  • Idiocrasy
  • Vortex
  • Incurious
  • Noble
  • Numb
  • Prolific
  • Frumpy
  • Mundane
  • Nerdy
  • Wackadoodle
  • Quagmire
  • Bewilder
  • Snarky
  • Alchemy
  • Ogle
  • Gnomic

You'll also want to string words together in order to form phrases and meaningful sentences. When you do this consistently, your quest to improve your writing style is honored.

Here are a few examples of words that combine to make phrases.

  • Insanely vibrant
  • An old ossified thought
  • A mechanical beast
  • A utilitarian purpose
  • A critical threshold
  • Slumbering peacefully in the arm of a tree

Using a bit of creativity, phrases can easily be constructed into a complete sentence: The missing young panther was found slumbering peacefully in the arm of a tree.

Improve Your Writing Style by Making Words Your Bestie

You know what it’s like to have a best friend. You know so much about her—her secrets, her likes and dislikes, and her temperament. You value your best friend; she's your bestie.


As a writer, words become your bestie. You’ll understand them on a deep level. You'll find them indispensable.

Your journey to becoming a wordsmith started in your youth and will never end. Make this journey an exciting one with your bestie. Capture them. Use them in creative ways. In this way, you will improve your writing style. in a monumental way.

Above all, happy hunting.

Ellison, R. (1952). Invisible Man. Vintage Books, New York.

Crichton, M. (2015). Jurassic Park. Ballantine Books, New York.

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