Choosing Your Words Carefully


Take a look at this recent news clip headline:

“Uranus has started leaking gas, NASA scientists confirm”

You can stop laughing now. It’s likely the writer worded it this way on purpose to call attention to the article. I certainly noticed! It’s also possible the idiot wasn’t thinking clearly and ended up with a humorous reference to odiferous body functions. I’ll let you decide.

More important than a good chuckle, it reminded me of a lesson I’m still learning – choosing my words carefully. I’m not referring to my books per se, but public communications such as my website, emails, and blog posts. Sometimes there’s a fine line between honesty and polite discourse, and given the permanent nature of e-communications I must be judicious in what I reveal or how I respond.

Take emails from readers for instance. While Sally just loved my most recent book, would I please consider writing a story about flying pink unicorns? Ahem…well now my first instinct might be to say something rude or dismissive – but I can’t do that. This is where those carefully chosen words come in. It takes more time to craft a polite and appreciative response without telling the person to check their medication or go get a life and leave me alone!

This kind of thing happens all the time with rude or uninformed blog post comments, unreasonable reviews, or things with which you strongly disagree. Some folks don’t know how to express themselves or are convinced they have the right to tell you what to do/think. Sometimes the only response is none at all, or a non-committal “thanks for stopping by!”.


I’ve never been shy about sharing my opinions freely, so learning to throttle my first instinct has been challenging at times. Honestly, I’ve learned a lot about watching my words from other writers and bloggers and appreciate their example.

Has this been a struggle for you? I’d love to hear how you have dealt with it.


Book update – Rise of the Draman is almost ready to launch! Look for an announcement with the next week or so.

Virus check – How are you holding up in these crazy days? I hope you are healthy and weathering the storm. Since my employer is considered “essential”, I continue to work as usual and am grateful for a consistent income. It’s still difficult though, as I pick up on everybody else’s stress! People are afraid of each other and no one makes eye contact. The streets are devoid of traffic, businesses are closed everywhere you look, and nothing seems “right”. Checking the news is depressing and scary as things get worse, and it’s all people can talk about. I can’t help but wonder how this pandemic will change our world once it passes.

If you are able, I encourage you to donate to your local food bank or homeless shelter. The need is great for so many and we can only get through this together. Peace.



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7 responses to “Choosing Your Words Carefully”

  1. Sue Vincent Avatar

    A timely post… considering the public health message that had me spitting fire this morning. As to how I dealt with it? My response goes out on the blog tomorrow… 😉

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      Oh boy…stay calm and eat chocolate. It’s the only solution.

      1. Sue Vincent Avatar

        That sounds like a plan 😉

  2. Joan Wiley Avatar

    I am too honest and have to stop myself from saying something that will offend or upset people who hold views different from my own. That is a lot of people. But apparently silence is golden for this reason: Most people don’t want to consider ideas that go against their beliefs. Not unless it is coming from mainstream media, someone in a position of power or the rich. They naturally have all the answers and deserve to tell you what to believe.

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      It’s really tough to remain silent or calm when people get under your skin. The nice part about electronic communication is that you get the chance to stop and think before responding. Not so when speaking in person!

  3. H.R.R. Gorman Avatar

    Congrats on getting Rise of Draman up so soon! Hope the launch goes well. Are you publishing ot woth the same pseudoym, or a different one? I’m mostly just wondering because the book us MG to YA, but you also write steamy fiction.

    I think my problem with words is how to handle complaints that target person more than content. “Your writing is stupud” is so much easier to handle than “You are stupid”. I think you’ve got a good handle on things; don’t answer it if the only other response us fight, really.

    1. Alexander Elliott Avatar
      Alexander Elliott

      A good question, and one I have considered carefully. The bottom line is I can’t afford the time or money to separate my books into two different websites, email accounts, etc. I would still be the same person whether people knew it or not. If it becomes a serious issue, I will either drop my romance titles altogether, or republish them under a different pseudonym.

      Yes, comments which attack YOU are harder to deal with. I wish we never had to deal with crap like that in the first place. I’d like to think silence on my part would make the attacker look as foolish as they really are!

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