Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wordplay Challenge 19: The Big But

There's much to be said about the power of word choice and its effect on our writing. However, this week's challenge is not about show-stopping, descriptive, or evocative words. It's about a three-letter word that we tend to overlook -- a word that, despite seeming visually insignificant, is more than a little blip in a sentence. It has the power to make meaning, to show contrast, to change the trajectory of an idea.


Yes, but. The conjunction "but" is a tiny word that can pack some power, if used with intention in your journaling.

Consider a page that expresses your fears, doubts, or misgivings, and then think about what the addition of "but" could do to some of those sentences:

"Since I was a child, I have had a fear of deep water, but that is slowly changing."
"These days, I am a worrier, but I wasn't always that way."

The use of "but", in introducing contrast, invites the writer to elaborate further. In a page that documents change or the desire for change, the word "but" is a tiny key that open doors, releasing more words in the process.

You can also use the idea behind the conjunction "but" without using "but" at all. Transitions such as "despite," "however," "although," "nevertheless," and "regardless" can establish contrast as well.

Try jotting down a few sentences, experimenting with these words. Aim for statements that are true, and perhaps the idea for your next scrapbook page or mini-album will be the result of this "wordplay."