Finding the Best Word for the Job – Guest Post by Rayne Hall

Anyone that’s visited this site knows of my rapid support for the Rayne Hall’s Writer’s Craft series. While I work diligently to put the finishing touches on Allies and Enemies: Exiles (due out by the end of March), check out the brilliant guest post Rayne’s this week. Learn more about Rayne Hall by visiting her site ( or checking her out on the ‘Zon.




by Rayne Hall

Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.

“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific  words you can bring your story alive:

“A lady with a poodle”

“A tart with a mongrel”

“A gothgirl with a puppy”

“A redhead with a Rottweiler”

“The man looked like a sports champion” is bland.  Show us what kind of man and what kind of sports, and the sentence becomes interesting:

“The gentleman looked like a fencing champion.”

“The thug looked like a boxing champion.”

“The salesman looked like a sumo champion.”


Instead of the dull description with generic words “This garden is full of flowers of all kinds”  show the kind of flowers to paint a picture:

“This garden is full of roses, honeysuckles, and hollyhocks” – The reader sees a cottage garden.

“This garden is full of crocuses, daffodils and tulips.” – The reader sees a garden in spring.

Rayne Hall

“The garden is full of daisies, dandelions and thistles.” – The reader sees a garden overgrown with weeds.


Before tackling your own manuscript, you may want to practice on these sentences. Use your imagination to replace the underlined generic words with specific ones.

I went further down the road until I came to a building half hidden by trees.

She put on her new dress and shoes and applied make-up.

For dinner, he ate meat with vegetables.