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“words are not …… facts or things: we need therefore to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and against it, so that we can realise their inadequacies and arbitrariness, and can relook at the world without blinkers”– John Austin

What if words are all you have? What if the world consists only of words– the world you create with your words? Lies or fiction, whatever you call it, for a writer, words are the only path to facts and things, to create conflict and confusion and resolve them, to birth characters and send them to oblivion.

What do words mean to you? How do you relate them to your world?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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19 Comments

  • Bidiiiisha says:

    Words mean a lot to me. When I write I put to in my all into them. So when I read and I like what I read I cannot think like a detached self.. I am then a defender of teh words like I love them own them. And so I lose on friends who have better critical or not more intellectual way with words. I am complete fool 🙂

  • Wendy Lu says:

    Wow, this is such a difficult question to answer. For me, words are the same as paint, as clay, as musical notes. Words are art and have the power to create anything that is ever possibly imaginable. For me, personally, words are simply my tool to use as an outlet of expression. I don't think I could live with writing. 🙂

    I don't know if I am completely satisfied with my answer haha. But I suppose there really isn't a set "right" or "wrong" answer to this.

    I wanted to mention to you that I'm hosting an awesome blogfest and critique giveaway at my blog from June 22-24 if you're interested. 🙂 Hope you have a great day, and thanks for these insightful questions.

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Roarin' Twenties Poetry Blogfest + Chapter Critique Giveaway (hosted by The Red Angel)

  • On some level, I would probably love a world of words alone. The written word is honest; earnest; taken literally. Vocally, words and language have become two different things altogether.

    Great post 🙂

  • michelle says:

    I love this: "But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
    Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
    That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think." – George Gordon Byron.

  • Libby says:

    There's a quote in the movie Iris I like a lot about words forming thoughts and that helps make us human. Pity I can't remember it.

  • M Pax says:

    Like Cherie, I see words as clay. Usually a hot mess on the first pass around the wheel. 🙂

  • Cherie Reich says:

    Great quote!

    Words are a writer's clay to form and mold to create our worlds.

  • To me, words are a means of expression and communication.

    I like the quote you posted!

  • Nick Wilford says:

    There's nothing more important than words to a writer and it's great to be able to play with them. Juxtaposing words that might not seem to go together can have a big impact on how the story comes across.

  • Words are creation, aren't they? They provide us with different/abstract ways of looking at things, stimulate emotions one never knew one possessed… Also, I sometimes think the way one approaches words forms the nature of our thought-processes… As Maurice said above, words are 'power', not least because they can give life (to the mind, the heart, etc) or take it away, depending on how they are used…

  • loverofwords says:

    The Mark Twain quote is perfect. I am interested in how words get lost in translation. Words are important and the right word is a challenge.

  • Damyanti, words are power. Even the words that have no meaning like Thou and Thee.

  • J.C. Martin says:

    Words are to writers what paints are to artists: they help create your world, your vision, to tell your story in full Technicolor.

    I've nominated you for a blog award! http://jc-martin.com/fighterwriter/2012/06/new-awards/

  • Lady Esther says:

    Words are very important to me. I'm a wife, mom, poet, thinker, philosopher. I express my soul through the words I choose. They are my power. Being a quiet, timid, dreamer my voice was stifled for years until recently! I found my voice through song, poems, and writing articles as well as journalist everyday! Words are very important because with out them I couldn't be writing this to you to express myself. My daughter Bethany who will be 9 this month has occationally one word- Momma! Since she doesn't have more communicating with her is very difficult! I do a lot of guessing. What does need, feel, or want? There are three words I would love to hear her say, "

  • Lynn Proctor says:

    it is something about the written word that touches my soul

  • Words (in writing, not speech) are my main form of communication. They are also entertainment for me. I can get lost roaming through a Thesaurus!
    Believe it or not, I do have a life!

  • For me, this says it all!
    "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
    (Mark Twain – Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888)
    I love to find just exactly the right word that conveys what I want to say. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn't.

  • D.G. Hudson says:

    Words can build things, especially when put together in a certain way. Words allow us to capture a thought and share it.

    How we use words determines the difference. They can be delivered lightly or with anger. They can evoke emotions.

    Use them carefully. (that's the hard part) Enjoyed the post!

  • Jo says:

    I'm a blogger not an author. However, I find words fascinating and am very conscious of the correct way to use them. I love to know their origins and enjoy puzzling out an unfamiliar word by breaking it down into possible roots from other languages.

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