The Basics, Basically
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
How many times have you read a book that spent so much time on flowery prose or psychological musings that the plot was lost? I have read a few myself. It’s like those people, you know the ones, who spend so much time trying to impress you with their extensive vocabulary but aren’t actually saying anything at all. I have nothing against expensive suits or high-dollar educations, but throwing it in my face every chance you get can get old quick. It is the same with writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love poetry and prose. I enjoy a good scientific explanation when necessary. I’ve read books on the history of mathematics in astrology for kicks. I am by no means saying you should dumb down your work. My point is that a writer shouldn’t spend so much time trying to fit their Harvard education into their work that they lose the entire point of the story.
Your romance doesn’t have to have ten pages of musings on love. Your science fiction piece doesn’t need entire chapters explaining quantum physics. Every other word doesn’t have to be the Miriam Webster version of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Showing off your skills as a word wizard is perfectly fine, if it makes sense and moves the story along. If I am reading a fantasy adventure, I would like some adventure with my fantasy, thanks. This goes for spending too much time describing settings or clothing, as well. We don’t need five paragraphs of the author waxing poetic on a pair of jeans and how they fit the protagonist just right. Move it along, people.
I have gotten plenty of enjoyment reading a story with basic boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, craziness ensues. We all know it is about how we present these basic story lines that shows our true writing skills. World building, character development, plot twists, these are what keep us interested. So though throwing in clever analogies and poetic prose is certainly welcome, don’t overdo it. Keep us in the story. Keep us interested. There is nothing wrong with going back to the basics sometimes.