“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”
The oldest trick in the book when it comes to writing is also the most trite and transparent. One thing I’ve learned throughout the years as I’ve evolved and matured as a writer is that writing is effective only when the author has something to say and says it concisely. This demands the use of carefully-selected words to paint as precise a picture as possible. In the digital realm especially, being pithy is the rule of thumb.
Long-winded copy is a surefire sign that the person who penned it had little to nothing to say, and simply wants to impress or confuse his or her audience. This is especially true when a so-called scribe moans unimaginatively on and on without vigor or focus. Talk about smoke and mirrors!
For a light-hearted jest at clotted writing, check out this automatic online complaint letter generator, courtesy of my friend alf. To use it, simply populate the fields with the name and info of anyone whom you wish to bitch about and hit “Complain.” The tool will instantly generate a meandering complaint letter that says absolutely nothing of substance but does so in perfect grammar and “impressive” English. Check out a snippet of the missive I generated for myself:
“Juan is lacking in the social graces. In reaching that conclusion, I have made the usual assumption that I strive to be consistent in my arguments. I can't say that I'm 100% true to this but Juan's frequent vacillating leads me to believe that his older taradiddles were unpleasant enough.”
Wha? I’m flippant and socially ungraceful? Who knows. Who cares! At least I know that today, I don’t have to resort to the kind of writing trick that leaves readers spinning and scratching their heads.