For the first time, I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! The concept is simple: Each day in April I’ll be blogging on a topic starting with the letter of the day, beginning with A and progressing to Z by the end of the month. Posts will be short and will relate to my chosen theme: my new coming of age story, Rightfully Ours, released April 1.
Q is for Quarrel
I love the nuances of language. We writers are always searching for the word that best matches our meaning. What sets “quarrel” apart from synonyms such as “bickering,” “dispute,” “fight,” or “fray?”
One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions is “a usually verbal conflict between antagonists.”
A good quarrel among protagonists can be a good thing too – at least in fiction. In Rightfully Ours, Paul and Rachel quarrel not long after Paul’s father has died. Paul’s been ignoring his friend Rachel, choosing to listen to his dad’s music rather than engage in conversation.
She huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Her eyes glistened. “You act like I suggested we dance on your parents’ graves. Is sparing me a few words too much to ask?” Her voice grew louder and more shrill with every word. “I’m sorry if I’m no good at this. I was trying. I thought maybe you’d like to talk about it. About him. That I could listen.” A lone tear escaped her left eye. “Screw you,” she hissed, and turned on her heel back toward the house.
He lunged forward and grabbed her wrist, turning her back towards him, but couldn’t think of a thing to say to stop her.
I think “quarrel” fits the scene from which this snippet is taken very well. “Bickering” would imply more verbal sparring, “dispute,” a particular point of disagreement, “fight,” a more physical disagreement, and “fray,” a chaotic fight amongst a group of people.
How important is the right word? Which word would you use to characterize your last disagreement with someone?