Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Don’t forget: simplicity is a powerful and important element of your writing style. More than one reader of my first drafts has accused me of purple prose. An intimate partner who isn't a writer once gave me advice after reading a page of freshly typed scenes. It’s one of the best critiques that I’ve ever gotten and I keep it scribbled on a little yellow sticky note plopped up on the printer next to my keyboard: “One word will do.”

The argument I’m making is one for simplicity. Yes, your writing is crisp and profound; it sings and its song enlightens and haunts your readers’ minds long after they’ve put down your work and moved on into their respective lives. Yes. But don’t discount the power and the contextual appropriateness of that occasional, riveting simple sentence.

My favorite sentence in my first novel is on its last page. It’s: “He smiled.” Nothing in my mind could be a better or a more right sentence at that moment in that story.

Embrace simplicity. It can and will serve you well.

No comments:

Post a Comment