Appearing Intelligent With Words

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This post is on increasing your vocabulary to enhance your writing and look more intelligent when (like me) you might not really be as smart as others seem to think.  But the illusion is still an ego booster! I have done this a LOT. My husband still hasn't caught on after thirteen years.  He thinks I am absolutely brilliant. I don't even talk the way I write half of the time, because to write intelligent sentences, I often take much longer than I do to speak aloud. Even weirder, half of the time my brain is quiet. Not even a bunch of drifting Zs floating around in there. I don't know why it is that way with me, it just is.  Written words are my jam.  They are the music to my twitchy fingers!

More than anything, though, I am simply another gal obsessed with the details of details. Being near-sighted, I guess it's a perfect fit. I cannot see far without my glasses, and I hate that, but I have used it to view the world around me in other ways-- namely sticking my head in a book for most of my life, with my fingers gripping a pen. I love manipulating words and using them to corrupt the minds of my readers with the images I wish to place there. Therefore, I toy with their emotions using the strokes I put on the page. You may call me a puppeteer, if you wish. You are as much my marionette as my characters are until you stop reading. Now, now, don't tangle your strings, I am not being mean, just creative with my never-ending attempts at cunning.  I'm sure my interjections have gotten a bit old by now, so on to the chapter!

There are many ways to appear intelligent, and many more ways to appear utterly and repugnantly unintelligent when writing. (We are aiming at the former!) I am going to be teaching you a valuable tactic in order to distract your own readers from the drool seeping from your mouth because you forgot to close it, and from the glazed look in your eyes when they say something to you while you try to puzzle out in your head what they've just said. (Hahaha!!!!) Once you have learned my intelligence tactics, you will truly be a more intelligent writer, as you will have learned something so very many other, less experienced writers have no idea about.

Alright. Vocabulary. The first thing I realized that helped me to better my ability to writer was my first horrible English classes.  My teacher forced us to memorize five words a day, four days a week, and every single day we had to write a paragraph that included all five words.  On Friday, not only did we take a test over the twenty words, we had to write an essay using all of them as well.  Now THAT is how teenagers kill brain cells!!! I already take a long time on my own. Being forced to use someone else's words to increase my intelligence??? AAAAAAHHHH!!!! However, shockingly, (not really) it worked. (I lamented for no reason.)  Many of those words are stuck in my head to this day. But not consciously. Only at the back of my mind, where I can reach for them and try to grasp them in my neediest moments.  They're like fish.  Sometimes you can't catch them.

There is even a shortcut to this method, I have found. Create your own list of ten to twenty random words. How to do this? Well, you can look up random Word-of-the-Days from Dictionary.reference.com, or you can check out a school book from the library, or read a book and underline several words you have never used before. Anywhere you can, snatch a word you have never used, or never thought of using. Or, as I desperately did, I got out a dictionary, assigned a number to every letter of the alphabet, and began rolling dice. My favorite dictionary to do this with, by the way, is the Random House Webster's Large Print Dictionary. The definitions are really short and often very easy to understand.  Plus, everything is written huge so my eyes don't have to strain themselves any more after all of the tiny writing I create.  (My handwriting is microscopic...like...size 6 Arial font, and much less legible.)

Here is an example list I am making up on the spot. Random numbers and letters on my head: 7, 12, 9, 4, 9, 5, F, J, O. And for the tenth word, a Word-of-The-Day: "wonk". Uh...wow, that is actually really funny. Now I am going to pick the first word on the dictionary page I flip to for the corresponding letters.

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