Some people think what they say—or write—doesn’t matter.
Words are powerful. They have the ability to evoke emotions, reactions, and strong feelings. To raise up or tear down. To change lives for better or worse.
Think about the story of creation in Genesis. How did God begin? He used words. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen 1:3 ESV)
Simple. Straightforward. But mind-blowing.
Talk about powerful. We’re not anywhere near God’s level, but our words still have impact.
When applied to storytelling, this truth becomes even more evident. As writers, we deal with words all the time, but sometimes I think we take them for granted or don’t give them the treatment they deserve. Flip the coin over, and it’s the same for readers.
Books never cease to fascinate me. They’re nothing more than pages of words strung together in a story, but they somehow manage to evoke strong emotions. Why is that?
Because of the potency of the words. They carry us away to another time and place, weaving their spell to leave us breathless and amazed. Through the medium of ink, paper, and squiggly lines that mean something, we find worlds opened up to us. We meet characters as real as friends and family. We journey on impossible quests and stare down unimaginable dangers.
Consider a few examples from fiction of the effect words can have.
1. The Last Battle
And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
2. The Princess Bride
“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”
3. Lord of the Rings
Arise, arise, Riders of Theoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
Spar shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!
Isn’t it amazing the range of emotions and reactions a handful of words can evoke? That’s the power of books, the power of words.
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but without words to accurately describe and express that picture, it has no meaning.
Books throb with potency. Words throb with power.
So how will you use your words?