I’m excited. I love teaching writing and on Saturday, September 14th I get another opportunity. I teach what to do, and I also teach what not to do. One of the nots is overwriting. Recently I came across an ad for a simple blazer, with this description:
A crisply chic mandarin collar meticulously-constructs this eclectic overpiece, lending an individualistic essence that's immeasurably maximized. Rendering a dedication to craftsmanship in a figure-skimming iteration, this fashion-focused twill jacket is developed through time-honored techniques and tailored touches.
I know, excruciating. A dense forest of verbiage that could choke the hungriest herbivore. Or verbivore.
Sometimes people do this to show off their vocabulary, always a bad idea. When you’re trying to stump your readers, you lose them. Other times it’s because the writer lacks confidence. They think they have to expound, embroidering until all you can see is the thread. But simple and concise is not only more professional, it’s more accessible.
Perhaps Mark Twain, who was often paid by the word, said it best: “'I never write ‘metropolis’ for seven cents, because I can get the same money for ‘city.’”
If you live anywhere in the Sacramento metropolis, er, city, come join the fun in Roseville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here’s the link where you can register for this college extension class that will help anybody get organized and begin their novel, play, or short story. It’s called “Start with the Bones.”