That First Bite

That first bite of a apple. Its crisp, juicy, and crunchy. You cringe a little if you’re eating it in a silent room because you know people can hear you, and face it they’re probably annoyed by the sound too. That crunch, that crack…how can we portray those distinct sounds in our writing? Anyone can blatantly write something like, “She took a bite out of her red delicious apple.” But as a reader, what does that sound like? The readers aren’t there to experience that sound of the bite, as a writer, our jobs are to take them through the experience, treat the reader as if they were there in that moment, stimulate their senses.

This brings me to my point of word choice. Whether your poem is long, short, or in between, every word has a purpose. Each word in poetry takes its reader through the meaning of the piece. Word choice may also be important to help create rhythm or set the tone of the piece. Poetry possesses such compact form, and with that being said, word choice affects that form. Going back to the image of the first bite of an apple, there is a difference when one may write, “She bit the apple and it made a noise and the apples juice dripped down her chin.” Compared to, “The loud crack of the apples skin hitting her teeth caused the room to fall into a hush as the juice dribbled down her chin.” The word choice in the first sentence does not evoke much sensory stimulation compared to the second sentence, it tells a mini story, almost as if the reader was there as it happened.

I know as a writer I personally struggle with word choice. But one technique I found to be helpful was just writing down whatever I wanted to say, no matter if it made sense or not, and then rereading it and editing it as much as possible to cut down or add necessary words. Word choice is tricky, but as long as you strive to take your reader on a journey, you have succeeded.

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