Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

Using Power Words to Become a Better Writer

I am working on making my writing more powerful. In doing so I am scrutinizing some famous speeches and passages to see what worked in them. Like this POWER word filled (commanding) speech14033 from Winston Churchill, who while under attack from Germany, was fighting for Britain’s survival, and by hook or by crook, Churchill had to motivate his citizens to greatness.

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Churchill skillfully fused words that made the listeners FEEL. For example blending distressful words like tyranny, terror and struggle with words that arouse hope, such as God, strength, and victory was a brilliant recipe. The last bit in particular, “for without victory, there is no survival.” Is a battle hymn of hope to his audience.
How often do you look at your power words? Take a passage that you want to make especially emotive, underline the words that make it so, or replace the ones that fall limp.
So get out your Synonym Finder and start powering up your words. Here’s a few to get you on your way;

H
Hazardous

Churchill's room in the bunker.

Churchill’s room in the bunker.

churchill2

War Room

IMG_0448

Bunker hallway

IMG_0443

Me, in the park across from the bunker.

Hoax
Holocaust
Horrific
Hurricane
L
Looming
Lunatic
Lurking
P
Painful
Pale
Panic
Peril
Piranha
Pitfall
Plague
Plummet
Plunge

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3 comments on “Using Power Words to Become a Better Writer

  1. Behind the Story
    March 13, 2015

    Churchill’s speech is an excellent model.

    • Mindy
      March 13, 2015

      Thank you! I thought so as well. M

  2. luannecbrown
    March 12, 2015

    Cool advice!

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