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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do I need a dictionary to read my own book?

Howdy all,
     The holidays are fast approaching and I'am sure we're all getting into the festive season; at least I know I am. And while hanging christmas lights, watching Christmas shows with the kids and work, I have still made time to get some writing in each and every day. I just finished my first draft of my second novel, setting it down for a while (that's what I hear you're supposed to do before revising) and have already began outlining an new story. I also went back and looked over some of my unfinished stories that I never quite got around to writing. I was taken by surprise at the many different writing styles I've used and wondered who I was trying to impress by using such BIG WORDS. By that, I mean using words that I needed a dictionary to see what they mean. Of course with the Kindle Fire, I can tap on a word and get the definition which I use from time to time. And while I only have one story on Amazon and I hope to have many more; I thought that if having to figure out what a word means before using it in your writing, maybe it could offend the reader. Granted my stories are meant for a certain audience and I respect their intelligence while at the same time I don't think they need a master's in English to read it. I've come across this type of writing before in the past and I believe it can totally turn the reader off. The story is important and whatever wordage is used that drives the plot and moves it along should be good enough. I've been put to sleep literally by some stories I've read by bland and unexciting use of the English language. Many of these were stories I recall reading in school. While some people like this and maybe feel smarter after reading this, I surely don't and many writers I've spoken to feel the same. I want to be entertained by the story I'm reading and the faster the story moves the better. So I did a little exercise and went back to one of my old stories, revised it and it now sounds better and flows naturally. Maybe back then I thought it was the cool thing to sound smart when writing, but now I see that it detracts from what I'm trying to get across to the reader. Sure some big words are fine, but trying to prove you're smarter than your audience isn't smart at all. Any  thoughts?
As always, Have a great day!

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