Monday, August 23, 2010

Scrap Those Fancy Words

"Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten center handy, ready and able." The Elements of Style

The ear is your guide to what sounds natural. So, instead of picking up your thesaurus, use the first words that come to mind when crafting your scenes. Polish them later, preferably without a bunch of erudite nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives that'll throw your reading audience off course!

Don't completely trash your thesaurus, it does come in handy. But avoid throwing foreign sounding words into your natural prose. We all have a style and voice, and readers become distracted when we stray from it.

"Upon looking at her, he became discombobulated," sounds a little too fancy (and a little too wordy, for that matter). But, "Seeing her confused him," is plain, simple and to the point.

A twenty dollar word may not earn you a dime, but that ten center could be worth twenty bucks in the long run!

So keep it simple, and keep it natural!

Can you replace the fancy words in your manuscript with some simpler ones today?

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