It’s Autumn. Not Fall.

It’s Autumn. Not Fall.

Autumn vs. Fall

To borrow Mr. Twain’s example, “autumn” is the lightning and “fall” is… You get the idea.

I can’t bring myself to speak or write the word “fall” to describe the best season of the year.

Autumn is too brilliant and breathtaking. I refuse to call it a word that means some unfortunate person slammed to the ground and hurt themselves.

I tried to find free images of people falling, so I could create a sarcastic meme titled “Fall Festival” with the caption, “I told you we should have called it Autumn Festival”. I didn’t want to pay for images and I’m not an artist, so I didn’t create the meme. I don’t know if anyone has had the same idea. But if you ever see a meme like that, you’ll know my sense of humor is similar.

Fall. Autumn. Who cares? They’re just words. But for writers, words are everything. And we labor long and hard to select the word that epitomizes what we want to convey.

Which do you think is more compelling? “He catapulted across the finish line and was chugging water before his competitor could spring off the starting block.” — OR — “The blond-haired guy ran faster than the other guy.”


In my fiction, I strive to write lightning. To hook the reader and hold them captive. Render them powerless to put the book down until they read the last page. Cause them to mourn that they have to say goodbye to the characters and world I’ve created.

Lightning Bug

Real life demands lightning bug words. People we love die, jobs are lost, health problems arise, and financial stress can hit us. Darkness looms and sometimes closes in.

I don’t know exactly what Twain was thinking when he wrote the quote above. The novelist in me is inspired by it. And in novels, every word needs to spark lightning.

But in most situations, I labor to craft my words to reflect the pleasant radiance of a lightning bug.

Tiny sparkles of warm light. Welcome surprises that soothe and convey hope in the darkness.

In any season. Winter, spring, summer.

Or autumn.

There’s a right time for every word. How do you choose?

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Joni Vance is an award-winning author of fiction, essay, and poetry. She loves mystery, history, and how God reveals Himself every day.

 May God reveal the mystery of His love in your life story.

2 thoughts on “It’s Autumn. Not Fall.

  1. Thanks Joni. I agree the right word matters. I try to choose based on context, locale, whether formal or informal, etc.

    • Thanks, Tim. Our quest for the right words is never-ending. Ha Appreciate you reading the blog and commenting.

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