I’m in hungry mode as I write this.
Just got back from work at the hospital some few minutes ago and there’s nothing in the fridge or pantry that looks interesting right now. I’ve ordered some Chinese food and the delivery man is expected to reach my front door in about thirty minutes – very long time to wait. But I’m a patient ‘waiter’ (…not) and it gives me an opportunity to share my thoughts on writing.
It’s occurring to me that were I to cook, and I’ve been told that I’m a pretty good cook, I could easily whip something up. It doesn’t have to be complicated…maybe, stir some cooked rice in tomato sauce, oil and pepper and call it red rice. Or jollof rice. Simple. Some gals add all these stuff and at the end of the day, you’re not sure of what exactly is served on your plate.
Writing is a lot like cooking. The simpler your ingredients, the more appealing your food. In fact, you’ll have a happier stomach. There’s an old adage from my culture that says, “A delicious soup is the result of spending lots of money,” but I’ve discovered that if you want a disastrous conclusion to your cooking, just make sure you include excess of everything – all in the name of showing you’ve got money. What’s the point of having food that is oversaturated with ingredients such that you have a very conflicted tongue and a gassy tummy?
Same with writing. What’s the point of having all these many words and I leave my readers confused – all in the name of showing that I’m the master of vocabulary? Yes, we writers love words…and we can love it way too much, resulting in some pretty atrocious work. Our readers are not exactly sure if they are reading English anymore. Their head batters with continued ache and they are almost moved to committing suicide because the sentences are long, convoluted, and truly appalling.
So when next I write, I’m remembering this simple rule: The simpler my words, the better my work. The shorter my sentence, the more pleasing it gets.
Now if only my Chinese food would develop wings and fly here!
Photo courtesy: My healthy food list
I agree with you. Keeping the narrative simple and easy to understand is the way forward. I have no patience with writers who try to impress the reader with long words and complicated sentences where simple ones would do. If I come across such a book, I don’t usually read beyond the first page….