Big Words Don’t Make Big Ideas

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

Anyone who read my first novel knows I was fond of big words. I went out of my way to use words like “peripatetic” and “eructation” simply because I knew them. It took a while to understand that this was a mistake. I’d artificially raised the bar for people to read and enjoy my novel with absolutely no gain.

When I was younger (and not very much younger) I had this mentality that “I’m writing for people like me” when “people like me” was a flimsy, shifting concept. Also a pretentious asshole.

My misconception was that the ideas would seem bigger and more intelligent if the language I used was bigger and more intelligent. This can be true; my grandmother read part of my first novel and then immediately put it down when she got to some words she didn’t know. The sentence structure was too complex for her. Her perception of the novel was that it was incredibly smart; too smart for her.

I had artificially raised the boundary to exclude people based on just a few words and needlessly complex structures. Continue reading