Using the right words.

I love good writing. I’m not into the super fancy stuff. You know, where the author takes a page and a half to get to the point because of all their similes and metaphors and blah blah. I like simple writing. You can describe things in an offbeat way, but still get straight to the point. A pretty good example of this would be Donald Miller.

There are very few people I’ve read who write fancy and pull it off. Really, the only book that comes to mind like this is The Book Thief. And even then, I found myself thinking every now and then, okay, come on, what’s your point? (I feel I should put a disclaimer here and say that I am aware of the difference between commercial and literary fiction. My beef is less with these two genres and more with people who write fancy because they feel it makes them “better” somehow.)

I was thinking about this tragedy of words last night before I fell asleep. And this is the conclusion I came to: I try to use beautiful words, but not so much that the rest of my words look ugly in comparison.

It’s a sad thing when someone writes an ugly sentence. Yea, I said it. Some sentences can be ugly. Yet it’s sadder still when someone considers a sentence ugly simply because it’s simple. There is nothing wrong with a simple sentence.

Sure, write complex. Write beautifully, with freshness and passion and all of those other positive words. But don’t confuse superfluous writing for beautiful writing. They are not the same and people will call b.s. You can feel the difference. Your readers can feel the difference. Don’t give anyone a reason to stop reading. Let me repeat that once more in case you zoned out; don’t give anyone a reason to stop reading.

So in conclusion, simple sentences do not equal a simple mind. And fake sentences can be spotted from a mile away. So if you’re going to write fancy, be real about it. Otherwise, do the world a favor and just write something coherent.

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2 thoughts on “Using the right words.

  1. When I first started writing seriously, I thought complicated descriptive sentences made me look like I was a REAL writer, not just someone faking it. That was before I knew what purple prose was. Then I learned I was sacrificing the story for the words.

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