In the award-winning musical, My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle--discovered in Covent Garden, declares that she’s sick of words, words, words—the street urchin transformed into a lady wants to be shown not told.
Words according to Mr. William Shakespeare should: “suit the action to the word, the word to the action…”
The pith and stems of the Papyrus was used in ancient Egypt as writing material manufactured around the 4th millennium B.C.E. Inexpensive and simple to produce, papyrus was insubstantial and by the 10th century was gradually being replaced by parchment. The invention of wood-pulp paper made writing less expensive. In 1440, Johann Gutenberg invented printing from separately cast metal types. The press transformed the way populations defined the world they lived in and spread within several decades all over Europe. The exchange of ideas and increased literacy altered society and strengthened the arising middle-class.
The first story ever written is believed to be The Epic of Gilgamesh written on 12 clay tablets between 1500 and 1200 B.C. and discovered in King Ashurbanipal’s library in Nineveh and is still available in hardback, paperback and eBooks. There is one imprint left on clay tablets and can be read at the British Museum.
For us, words may be savored, generate new ideas within our books, suggest plots, belong to a character—our job is to suit the action to the word, the word to the action. Words that show the antagonist’s motivation, and the protagonist’s will to champion a righteous cause. Words that draw the reader into time, place and action and keeps them turning the page.