My critique groups often lean on me for using bigger words than necessary. Particularly people who read and adore Hemingway. My weak defense is accuracy: I want the reader to get an exact picture. The response is, “in well-written work, sixty percent of the reader’s vision is what the author wrote; forty percent is drawn from the reader’s own experience.” Now with several years and more than several rewrites under my belt, I understand.
So who had the twisted sense of humor to give an exact definition of ‘fear of long words’ as hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia?
I have been dilatory in my blogging. All of the reasons are good, but like intentions, they pave the way to hell (in the form of low readership).One of the several delaying factors was the success of my writing groups. More people, more writing and more time spent critiquing. I’m learning that bad writing is perhaps more helpful to me than good writing. Don’t get me wrong. I love reading a beautifully-crafted paragraph or watching another writer’s character do something that explains a volume in a few words. That writing adds in an ineffable way to my skill as a writer. But the bad writing, the times when the narrator becomes a blowhard, or the writer has the character tell us something we already knew, or the sentence is just too ugly for a simple ‘k’ in the margin … those are the times I see the same weaknesses in my own writing.So, long story, but the critiquing I’m doing now is doubly time consuming, because I spend as much time fixing the embarrassing parts of my own writing as I do critiquing.Wait a minute. That’s what it’s all about, right?