You are here

  1. Blogs
  2. » firestarter's blog

Writing Right (2)

Primary tabs

A couple of days ago, a person from my office brought me a letter for approval before dispatch . It was supposed to be a simple invitation to an event, but he had dutifully turned it into a "literary masterpiece". The "missive" presented to me was a dark boulevard of towering words some so big you'd need an escalator to get to the top of them. I wondered who he was trying to impress , me , himself or the recipient.
In short the letter failed to intelligibly communicate with the reader and only suggested that the writer had been spending so much time memorizing a thesaurus.
After spending a grueling five minutes leveling the awkward words and bloated sentences, I believe he was still not convinced that "memorable " sounds nicer to the mind's ears than "epochal " , as a final hook to persuade the recipient to drop anything and come running to this elegant event. Heck, after a few drinks, words like epochal may indeed sound fantastic , I do admit . Anyway, he went away very sad. .
When you write anything meant for others to read what is your primary aim - is it to communicate, or is to impress with the size of your vocabulary? Admittedly most people find it a lot more difficult to simplify or "explain" their writing. It is a separate skill entirely.That is why publishing companies have unsmiling editorial teams armed with passionless scissors . It is always easy to identify a writer who has never passed through such a humbling hair-trimming experience.