“If the sickly-sweet word, the overblown phrase are a writer’s natural form of expression, as is sometimes the case, she will have to compensate for it by a show of vigor, and by writing something as meritorious as the Song of Songs.” – Strunk & White’s Elements of Style
Yeah, so… I have a problem with wordiness. A big problem, actually. I think it’s a kind of pretentious writer’s adolescence that needs to be shaken off. Sometime, when I was twelve or so, being wordy made me sound a genius for my age, and as it was encouraged by teachers and the like… Praised for being provocative and eloquent and what have you, I kept doing it. Then I read Poe, which REALLY gave me license to indulge it. But now that I’m all growed up, shall we say, it’s certainly lost much of its charm.
I’m fairly convinced no publisher is going to want to look at it, as soon as they see this page of ggaaaahhh too many dashes. In looking at what I’ve written, I’m fairly convinced that I need to go through and… If anything, just cross out adjectives. And seriously, use dashes and semicolons less. I’m sort of embarrassed for myself.
…But some of it must come from a good place, right? When I get into my Masterpiece Theater voice, and feel as if I must be sitting in a study that smells like leather and pipe smoke…? Sometimes when people warn me about my wordiness, I get really annoyed. Like they assume I’m not skillful enough to pull of something “meritorious.” I want to believe I can… I just think I shouldn’t try every freaking page.
It was as if I had been born, sea-flung like driftwood — but I noticed that my clothes were not wet. Damp, but only with the moisture of the sand. It was not a perfect birth, for I sensed it was not my beginning. I knew I had a self that was forgotten, so I felt a loss — but also a fear, because I did not know where it had gone. Or where it might find me again. I could discover her anywhere — she could be hiding — waiting to spring…