Keep It Simple Stupid.
AKA don’t be pretentious, if I had to look up the meaning of the word Honorificabilitudinitatibus to put it in my story, chances are most everyone else will too. If I litter my story with words to sound super smart I’ll sound like a jackass.(That’s my opinion.) I’ve set more than one book down for this reason, not because I didn’t know what the word meant, but because, seriously? Big fun words have their place, I use them wisely or the reader won’t think I’m so wise. That’s not to say they don’t belong, but if it’s overrun it can be frustrating to read and borderline insulting.
Sasha stood before the group holding up the two layouts. “This is deleterious to our reputation. Neither are erroneous however, neither are optimal either. Both are nugatory to the client. We must commence by consolidating these two non-ostentatious layouts into one agreeable layout. We will have to ameliorate everything expeditiously, leveraging our proficiencies to implement the client’s prescribed parameters.” (55)
Uh… yeah, what she said… and… close book.
Sometimes big words have their place, we’re not in kindergarten. I Write for the audience, the readers. A fourteen year old may know what Commensurate means but is the word necessary? Can’t I just say equal?
Sasha stood before the group holding up the two layouts. “This is the kind of work that will destroy our reputation. Neither are wrong however, neither are optimal either. Both are of no value to the client. We must start by consolidating these two unimpressive layouts. We will have to improve everything expeditiously, using our skills to carry out the client’s request.” (62)
Better, but she’s still sounding a wee bit pretentious. Now if word count is an issue (and it always is for me) and I wanted to simplify this further I would do this.
Sasha held up the two useless layouts to the group. “This level of work will destroy our reputation. Neither is optimal, so we need to consolidate them. We’ll need to work quickly and actually meet the client’s requests this time.” (40)
I would have never written it like the first attempt. I did that to illustrate that the insertion of overly pretentious words can alienate a reader.
My advice about keeping it simple.
The thesaurus is great and useful, but remember to write for your audience not to “impress” or make them feel stupid.
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