Monday, April 18, 2011

Courageous or Cultivating?

Here’s another
"Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t"
dilemma for authors.

The question to the Final Jeopardy! clue on the left is: Who is Ernest Hemingway?

So which is it, then? Should writers just use small and common words? Or is it okay for writers to have a “vocabulary” as such?

I’ll grant right from the start that using “big words” just for the sake of showing off one’s intelligence is a detriment. But how does one make that judgment? Perhaps that particular word fit the exact nuance needed for the scene. Okay, yes, if the word is normally not used and the chances are no one will know it without going to a Dictionary, it’s probably not a good idea to use it. But is it okay to use the “big words” if the meaning is clear via context? If there’s a bunch of these, are they each just another drop in the bucket of annoyance?

Then again, I’ve known and heard people complain as Faulkner did, too. These folk enjoy being taught the meaning of words that are new to them.

I’ve been told that my writing is of the “simple” variety  in the good sense. But do I then irritate the readers who want a challenge?

I suppose this one is all personal preference.  Even amongst authors.  I've seen both praise and intolerance for vocabulary-heavy stories.

But having this abscind, so to speak, sure doesn’t make it too facilitating on us. ;)

No comments: