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Pretty words don't make the story

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Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:18 am
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LoveableLittleSock says...



I've seen countless times a story where the writer has an amazing vocabulary, and that makes them think they can get away with murder. One story I was blown away - it had no structure, no plot, no storyline, and the grammar couldn't get worse. I finished reading, and I read the reviews. I almost shoved a knife into my heart.

People were saying the story was great. Awesome. Now, I'm telling you that it was very, very short - about 500 words or so. And what irritated me most was that they were commenting on her language. She uses phrases, "Her elliptical eyes fluttered open, and her incandesence flooded the room." Or something of that nature. I don't even know if that makes sense.

Anyway, let's get into the actual tip: Don't let your vocabulary take over your piece of writing. I mean sure, if you only use words a second grader will know, you're not going to get very far. Writing is all about words, but it doesn't all depend on the words you use. It's what order you put them in - how you mix and match. People, unfortunately, say a piece of writing is good because they don't understand it. They're flustered and they don't want to admit that they don't know half the words you used. And anyway, you make the characters and everything around them seems so pretty.

Depth is what everybody aims for when they write. Think of pretty words as a mask - you hide behind them, thinking the more you use, the better you'll be. Your characters don't develop, and the story progresses like a three-legged turtle. Your protaganist may be effervescent and loquacious, and she may be an ingenue, but you can't let your story be sempiternal. And by the way, if that sentence was correct in any which way, congratulate me.

Don't hide behind your words. Delve deeper into the story - you may use the tag "said" one hundred and twelve times in your novel, and everything may be "pretty" and "nice," but your vocabulary doesn't define your story. What your vocabulary says defines your story.
Last edited by LoveableLittleSock on Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:24 am
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GoldFlame says...



Sorry for replying six years late, but...you do not know how much I agree with you. It's more important to be well-acquainted with the words in your vocabulary. I mean, who'd prefer "her pulchritudinous physiognomy" over a clean, vivid description of her face?
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183 Reviews


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Reviews: 183
Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:08 am
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LoveableLittleSock says...



I think a Latin or Greek professor might take particular glee in "her pulchritudinous physiognomy", but that's my only guess for now. Thank you for the kind words! ^_^
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