What’s in a Word?

Vancouver, Canada, summer 2019

Dear Reader,

Needless to say, you are reading this right now. This probably also implies that you understand words to be more significant than typed letters on a page. I was thinking about writing recently and thought about how powerful it can be. A few words one day on J.K. Rowling’s laptop years later turned into one of the bestselling series of all time, a movie, video games, and an amusement park among other things. It’s amazing how something as simple as lines on a page can come to life.

Writing is a pretty amazing process. Think about all of the literary bestsellers and Hollywood blockbusters. Sometime somewhere the writers behind these hits were huddled over a laptop doing nothing more than translating thoughts into text. Somehow these individuals strung together the right combination of letters that were powerful enough to touch the hearts of millions. Imagine how many words it took to create the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. If this collection were written with half as many words, would it have been as successful? What if the title were different? For example, what if “The Hound of the Baskervilles” were called “The Mysterious Dog”? And, what if all lines were altered, for example what if, “Holmes was silent, but his little darting glances showed me the interest which he took in our curious companion,” became “Holmes was quiet, yet clearly interested in the strange man”? Would these changes have had any impact on Sherlock Holmes’s popularity even if the story was completely preserved?

One of my jobs allows me to help turn research and writing into interactive experiences. These activities involve a large amount of reading, drafting, revisions, and edits. However, at the end of the process, we get to turn our words into action. People read the content and become immersed and engaged in the little world that we have created for them. It is very fulfilling to see one’s own work come to life, or to hear one’s own words leave another’s lips.

Interestingly enough, I don’t have many more words to say about this subject. To me, seeing words take on a life of their own is as magical as Harry Potter. I love to read, I love to write, and I love stories. Reading books that are (or will be) movies is an interest of mine. If you haven’t already guessed, words are very important to me. The power of words is very alluring. You must like words too, Dear Reader, I hope you are writing them done and keeping them safe somewhere. You will never know the power of your own words until you read them.

Love,

Raven

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