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Writers Workshop > Help- I need a word!

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Dirubio | 5 comments Hello- I've written a YA novel about a magic system and I'm having a discussion with my editor over what to call the "Power" "Ability" "Gift" whatever it is my twelve year old female protagonist possess to let her manipulate the world. I have settled on "the Ability" because I used a rational/scientific basis for the magical system and I wanted the system to have a rational title. My editor seems to think that the word Ability is too weak. He likes "the Power", which I used for a long time but changed after I started talking about the exercising of power: political, military, economic in later chapters. That got to be too sticky. Both "Gift" and "Blessing", seem to me to be bestowed by a higher being and I didn't want that.
Anyone have any ideas? Or lacking that a vote on something already said? Thanks.


message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 405 comments I suggest looking up synonyms for “power” and “ability.” I did a quick search and thought “prowess” would be good. Just take a look. It always helps me with my writing when I can’t find the right word.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 269 comments Talent?


message 4: by P.J. (new)

P.J. DeVere | 5 comments skill?


message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments She can Tune reality...


message 6: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments The 'curative.'


message 7: by Zana (new)

Zana Hart (zanahart) | 13 comments the Magic

her Method

... I seem to favor a capitalized word.


message 8: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments How about, The Gage. It sounds scientific and can mean a measurement of something ... something like a power perhaps. Just a thought.


message 9: by Naomi (new)

Naomi (sukamysia) | 1 comments The aforementioned Talent is pretty good.

Knack, Skill, and Flair are probably too weak
Savvy or Capacity could work if it's connected to the mind
Craft too artsy unless you like the contrast
Aptitude would work if it's different for everyone who has it

I think your editor's right though, Ability is very clunky and vague.


message 10: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments You might rethink "gift." It can be a double-edged sword:
"The Girl With All The Gifts." Well known, hugely popular, and recent, so it's still in mind. A curse more than a gift.


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael Dirubio | 5 comments Thanks to all who chimed in! So very good suggestions and ideas. I think we have rethought "The Gift" and have settled on that. Good writing! Mike


message 12: by Micah (last edited Jun 11, 2018 12:14PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments I think in your place I'd use "Aspect" as in "a particular part or feature of something."

It's not particularly strong like Power, but it sounds more enigmatic while actually meaning what you described. And "Power" is very superhero, which has been done to death. To me, "Gift" carries a connotation of mysticism or spirituality that doesn't seem to fit.

But you're the boss (not us or even your editor). Use what feels best to you.


message 13: by W. (new)

W. Boutwell | 157 comments Attribute


message 14: by V.K. (new)

V.K. Tritschler (vktritschler) | 31 comments I think a thesaurus might help:

Synonyms for skill
noun ability, talent to do something

accomplishment
art
artistry
clout
competence
dexterity
experience
expertise
finesse
ingenuity
intelligence
job
know-how
proficiency
prowess
quickness
readiness
savvy
technique
address
adroitness
aptitude
cleverness
command
craft
cunning
deftness
dodge
ease
expertness
facility
goods
handiness
knack
line
makings
moxie
profession
skillfulness
sleight
smarts
stuff
trade
expertism
one's thing
right stuff
what it takes


message 15: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice Morgan | 28 comments I'm copying that list to my computer for future reference - thanks!


message 16: by Haru (new)

Haru Ichiban | 255 comments So am I :P


message 17: by Randall (new)

Randall Davis If this is as important a word as it seems, take the lesson from JK Rowling and make it up. Just a thought.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Milton | 13 comments I loved V.K.'s thesaurus post - isn't the English language beautiful, maddening and complex?

To echo Randall's post, Shakespeare made up his own words. If it's good enough for him... : )

A lot of the great authors (particularly in sci-fi) make up their own terms to draw readers deeper into their imaginary worlds.


message 19: by Brian (new)

Brian Stankich | 3 comments How about senseability? It conveys both innate talent and higher power input.


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