Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writing 101: Calling a Spade a Spade

You can call me an indie author if you like, but you can also call me an autonomous wordsmith if you really feel like it. 

Or maybe you'd better just stick with indie author. When you are one, you'll find that often simple language is the best. So when you're writing, let's just call a spade a spade. It takes too long to look for synonyms for the word shovel.

By Any Other Name

When you're writing about a shovel,  you can just call it a spade. People like flowery language, but they like simple honesty even more. When you're looking for a creative way to mention a shovel, or you're looking for a replacement for the word whisper, you're probably doing a little too much writing. You don't need to throw synonyms all over your book in order to make it good. For the most part, it's perfectly okay to end dialogue with "he said." 

Simple words don't equal simple writing. Many authors fear this. Instead of using straightforward language, they look for flowery and complicated words instead. But big words are not a hallmark of good writing. All the best books that were ever written are composed from straightforward words that reflect the way people are talking at that moment in history. You've probably used the word shovel several times in your life. How many times have you actually described one instead?

The most complicated plots can be described in simple words, and the story will still be amazing. The best books are easy to read, and they become popular when they're easy for everyone to read. To do that, you need to use simple language. So just call me a blogger, instead of a self-reliant Internet diarist. That way, you can focus on simply being an author rather than an as...well, just be an author.

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