Words, words, words, to quote Hamlet. I am freakin’ sick of words. And, since I have about 15,000 more to go on the WIP, that ain’t a good thing.
But, Ro-mama, you say, how can you be tired of words – you talk more than any five normal people put together! Yes, I know. But I had to write the benighted brief from Hades at the dayjob this week, and after handpicking each one of 3500 words on federal employment law, I don’t wanna write anything else for the foreseeable future.
See, in legal writing, you have to be so careful about each and every word. Does it say what you mean? Exactly what you mean — don’t say “robbery” if you mean “burglary.” (Even though the media confuse the two all the time, you can’t rob a house. You have to burgle it.)
After you get the word with exactly the right meaning, you have to look at whether it is persuasive — that it gets the feeling of your argument correctly. My assistant and I spent a great deal of time debating whether to say the other side “responded to” something my client did as opposed to “retaliated by” doing something. We went with retaliated — it has more of a plotted-revenge connotation, which reinforces the idea that the other side did something wrong.
Plus you have to make sure the whole thing flows — that you haven’t repeated yourself. I had to do a word search for “vitriolic” because I used it in just about every paragraph of the first draft. What can I say? I just love that word. When you are talking about someone being caustic and cruel in their communications, it just sums it up. But I can’t use it every time you say the other side said something intentionally hurtful. But there you have it: hurtful vs. vitriolic. Which one sounds worse?
And the whole thing serves to remind me that I have to be just as precise in my “fun” writing. Say the exact thing you mean, without repeating yourself, catching just the right nuance — and by the way, don’t use “ly’s,” “ings,” or head-hopping. No wonder there are voices in my head! I must be crazy to think writing is enjoyable!
So, that was a whole bunch of words to tell you I don’t feel like writing anything tonight. So without further babbling, here is the wet man of the week, someone I can’t believe I haven’t featured before, because he is one of my serious favorites. Ladies (and gentlemen, for that matter), I give you the ever lovely Mr. Taye Diggs: