On writing fancifully

I sometimes don’t see the point in meretriciousness. I find sentences so overzealous in delivering an image or an idea that they inadvertently bury the image or the idea beneath a mountain of synonyms. In every instance where a word sounds too simple, too regular, too familiar to the novice’s eye, another that sounds more sophisticated or that doesn’t as often peek out the dictionary is sought; and no sooner do the sentences grow to extensive lengths, creating in themselves a labyrinth from which the reader can never escape. What is the point then in employing so many profound words, and disdaining their more diminutive siblings, when in the end nothing is established? Will it not be far better to write simply but with accuracy, and let the reader traverse the sentence comfortably to its destination?

It may seem as if I have a sort of distaste for fanciful words, but that is hardly the case. I love fancy and I fanciful writing even more so. But what I dislike is those words being used in a forcible manner. Sometimes they are used solely that a writer may profess his supposed talent in writing or his well-bred sophistication. And because that is solely his intent, he pays no attention to the subtleties of the synonym, taking heed only of its obscurity and the number of syllables it contains, and carelessly fixes it in the place where a simpler word used to lodge. Hardly does he realize that by unnecessarily replacing those words, the sentence begins to crumble – so light an idea was never meant to bear so heavy a weight.

If ever one develops a lust for ostentation, at least use those big words in a less blatant fashion.


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