Aspiring Writer, Build Your Vocabulary!

by Darlington E. Ogugua, Age 17, Nigeria


In every complete novel, there are chapters. Paragraphs are the constituents of these chapters. You don’t make a complete paragraph without writing complete lines and the basic unit of a line in literature, whether prose, drama or poetry, is the word. What makes a good writer is his or her ability to choose the right words at the right time along with the ease at which the words chosen portray information and feelings to the reader. If you produce a literary work that most people find ambiguous, I do not think your aim of writing would have been achieved.

Just as the human body has cells, literature has words. Since every Biology student begins with the study of the cell, it is pertinent to note that prospective writers need to learn everything they can about words. Of course, I don’t expect you to buy an Oxford dictionary and begin to memorize each word, page by page, but I wouldn’t say you shouldn’t either. There are other ways you can become familiar with words. The best way, I think, is through reading. Read good literature. Don’t limit your library to romance and science fiction novels. Surf the Net for various literary prize shortlists and award-winning novels. Buy them if you can. A host of new words await you as you read them; trust me.

You can also build your vocabulary by reading literary magazines, listening to interviews by competent journalists on renowned writers, watching educational programs on TV, and even listening to everyday conversations. I discovered that most of the words I use today were either those I heard from people around me or those I fished out from novels I read.

As aspiring writers we need to arm ourselves with the right words. It is the first and most important step in writing.


Darlington E. Ogugua is a 17 year old medical student from Nigeria. He says, “I’ve always loved writing since I was eight. As an only child, writing has always been my companion and, truly, my first love.” You can find Darlington on Facebook.


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