Dumbing Down

B5f8
Wench Pat prosing on here:

I have heard discussions, mainly among romance authors and readers,but also in journalistic and business articles, about "dumbing down"  writing for mass market audiences—or the lowest common denominator as many discussions scornfully refer to them. In the early days of this debate, I would agree, if only because my editor and copyeditors insisted on substituting simple words for three-dollar ones (“blossoming” instead of the oh-so-piquant “nascent”? What are they thinking!), or they’d ask if it’s utterly necessary to include a complete description of whatever fascinating topic I had researched so carefully (but the construction of a corset is so fascinating, even if it is in a sex scene!).  Naturally, I was outraged that my prose and my research were so demeaned. I was a student of literature, after all, and had cut my teeth on Dostoesvky, Dreiser, and Bronte. Heck, I’ve even read Joyce and wished I could have sent him a bushel basket of punctuation.

But with time and experience comes a modicum of wisdom. Gradually, I realized that the romance books I most loved were models of complex characterization and subtle plotting and strong dialog. Yet their authors didn’t need three-dollar words, paragraph-long sentences, rambling descriptions, and erudite monologues to create exciting, romantic, emotional tour de forces.                 Tourdeforce

Which, of course, left me analyzing what readers really want. And the answer, obviously, is exciting, romantic, emotional tour de forces, in whatever manner they can be conveyed best.

Eventually I came to understand that editors wanted me to clarify my stories to reach a wider audience. Even I don’t have the patience to read Joyce anymore, and I doubt that I’m much dumber than in my youth. Perhaps television has created a world of ADD readers, or we’re all too busy to sink into thick sentences, puzzle out heavy prose, and unwind digressions. It’s the sentences that move smoothly and invisibly through action and dialog that hold me enthralled these days. Where once I melted in awe and read and re-read the lush descriptions of Kathleen Woodiwiss , now I’m far more inclined to lose myself in compellingly simple tales of authors like  Patricia Briggs and her strange werewolf world, or John Moore’s fairy tales with princesses who rescue themselves. I don’t even like werewolves, but Briggs’ direct, straight-forward prose and portrayal of a world and history that doesn’t exist holds me enthralled. (I’m using fantasy books as an example to broaden your reading lists. You already know the Wenches are my favorite romance writers!)

So I now consider the discussion of “dumbing down” an insult to all those authors who have worked so hard at what looks so simple on the page–writing accessible prose. Admittedly, not everyone is into complex plotting (and I happily grin when Publishers Weekly reviews MYSTIC GUARDIAN by saying “Rice pieces together an intriguing, complex plot.” Who, moi?  Complex? Nah. It’s just sex. What’s complex about that? –very wicked grin), but I’m equally happy reading books that run on humor and romance as well as ones that draw me in with action and characters. My main requirement is that they suck me straight into the world they’ve created, and that’s impossible to do if I’m staggering through a sentence looking for its end, or hunting around to figure out who’s talking.

I understand that some readers fall in love with the romantic, lush, and/or exquisite prose of wordsmiths—authors who can polish a sentence until it gleams.   Laura Kinsale  ranks high on many scales as a writer who can tell a cracking good story with superb characterization and still write a sentence that sings in perfect pitch. But wordsmiths prove that a mass market audience reads and wants intelligent writing—as long as it’s accessible.

Wink2

Since clarity and perfection, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder, 
I’d rather not start digging around and spewing out examples. But if you’d like to have some idea of just the tip of an iceberg of how a writer must approach editing his imaginative creation, check out "sentence clarity" .   After you’ve run through a 100,000 or so words looking for those kinds of constructions, plus the absolute perfect word to describe the hero’s nose, character, and temper, you can understand why perfection is rare. And why attempting clarity isn’t dumbing down.

So let’s dispense with the term “dumbing down” and go  straight to the nitty gritty:  what irks you most about genre writing? You may complain about quality, quantity, or subject matter all you like, just don’t call “blooming” instead of “nascent,” dumbing down!

155 thoughts on “Dumbing Down”

  1. What annoys me most about genre writing is a lack of creativity with characters and situations. The same old people and places come up again and again. It’s lazy writing and boring to read. So conversely, what I love is when someone takes the genre conventions and makes something exciting and new out of them.

    Reply
  2. What annoys me most about genre writing is a lack of creativity with characters and situations. The same old people and places come up again and again. It’s lazy writing and boring to read. So conversely, what I love is when someone takes the genre conventions and makes something exciting and new out of them.

    Reply
  3. What annoys me most about genre writing is a lack of creativity with characters and situations. The same old people and places come up again and again. It’s lazy writing and boring to read. So conversely, what I love is when someone takes the genre conventions and makes something exciting and new out of them.

    Reply
  4. What annoys me most about genre writing is a lack of creativity with characters and situations. The same old people and places come up again and again. It’s lazy writing and boring to read. So conversely, what I love is when someone takes the genre conventions and makes something exciting and new out of them.

    Reply
  5. What annoys me most about genre writing is a lack of creativity with characters and situations. The same old people and places come up again and again. It’s lazy writing and boring to read. So conversely, what I love is when someone takes the genre conventions and makes something exciting and new out of them.

    Reply
  6. Pat, reading your posts makes me want to meet you—you always seem to be thinking in such an interesting way.
    I’m a very conflicted reader. On the one hand, I revel in (substitute like if we’re dumbing down)lush prose and descriptive passages (English major here as well). On the other, I get impatient if things make me concentrate too much when I’m looking for simple entertainment.I’ve found myself loving a book yet knowing it’s just written too well for me to read. The horror! The shame!
    Romance novels have nearly spoiled me for other genres, since they get dependably to the point when other books take a year and a day to satisfy the creative vanity of their authors. I guess I expect the impossible—a modest amount of artistry within the familiar framework.
    As a writer I’ve discovered I’m sometimes a bit too economical with my prose and I have to pad to get the dreaded word count up. But it always ultimately comes down to the characters. All the history and description is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  7. Pat, reading your posts makes me want to meet you—you always seem to be thinking in such an interesting way.
    I’m a very conflicted reader. On the one hand, I revel in (substitute like if we’re dumbing down)lush prose and descriptive passages (English major here as well). On the other, I get impatient if things make me concentrate too much when I’m looking for simple entertainment.I’ve found myself loving a book yet knowing it’s just written too well for me to read. The horror! The shame!
    Romance novels have nearly spoiled me for other genres, since they get dependably to the point when other books take a year and a day to satisfy the creative vanity of their authors. I guess I expect the impossible—a modest amount of artistry within the familiar framework.
    As a writer I’ve discovered I’m sometimes a bit too economical with my prose and I have to pad to get the dreaded word count up. But it always ultimately comes down to the characters. All the history and description is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  8. Pat, reading your posts makes me want to meet you—you always seem to be thinking in such an interesting way.
    I’m a very conflicted reader. On the one hand, I revel in (substitute like if we’re dumbing down)lush prose and descriptive passages (English major here as well). On the other, I get impatient if things make me concentrate too much when I’m looking for simple entertainment.I’ve found myself loving a book yet knowing it’s just written too well for me to read. The horror! The shame!
    Romance novels have nearly spoiled me for other genres, since they get dependably to the point when other books take a year and a day to satisfy the creative vanity of their authors. I guess I expect the impossible—a modest amount of artistry within the familiar framework.
    As a writer I’ve discovered I’m sometimes a bit too economical with my prose and I have to pad to get the dreaded word count up. But it always ultimately comes down to the characters. All the history and description is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  9. Pat, reading your posts makes me want to meet you—you always seem to be thinking in such an interesting way.
    I’m a very conflicted reader. On the one hand, I revel in (substitute like if we’re dumbing down)lush prose and descriptive passages (English major here as well). On the other, I get impatient if things make me concentrate too much when I’m looking for simple entertainment.I’ve found myself loving a book yet knowing it’s just written too well for me to read. The horror! The shame!
    Romance novels have nearly spoiled me for other genres, since they get dependably to the point when other books take a year and a day to satisfy the creative vanity of their authors. I guess I expect the impossible—a modest amount of artistry within the familiar framework.
    As a writer I’ve discovered I’m sometimes a bit too economical with my prose and I have to pad to get the dreaded word count up. But it always ultimately comes down to the characters. All the history and description is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  10. Pat, reading your posts makes me want to meet you—you always seem to be thinking in such an interesting way.
    I’m a very conflicted reader. On the one hand, I revel in (substitute like if we’re dumbing down)lush prose and descriptive passages (English major here as well). On the other, I get impatient if things make me concentrate too much when I’m looking for simple entertainment.I’ve found myself loving a book yet knowing it’s just written too well for me to read. The horror! The shame!
    Romance novels have nearly spoiled me for other genres, since they get dependably to the point when other books take a year and a day to satisfy the creative vanity of their authors. I guess I expect the impossible—a modest amount of artistry within the familiar framework.
    As a writer I’ve discovered I’m sometimes a bit too economical with my prose and I have to pad to get the dreaded word count up. But it always ultimately comes down to the characters. All the history and description is just icing on the cake.

    Reply
  11. My only pet peeve is poor writing…and that includes a story that doesn’t ‘work’, characters that are inconsistent or badly drawn….and bad ‘mechanics’. I always tell my students not to ‘punish’ their prof with horrendous mistakes or make their reader work like a demon to understand their prose…. The same goes for me – don’t make me (the reader) do the writer’s or editor’s work. I’m off duty and want to have fun!
    That being said, I’m quite forgiving – I can gloss over the odd detail glitch….
    And I very much savour the odd time a ‘lovely’ word is used….and I appreciate a beautiful phrase, witty, well-paced dialogue, a lovely description. But I don’t want to work all that hard reading genre fiction because it is my escape and relaxation – and I have to be able to access it even at 3:30 am when I’m ‘stupid’.
    An interesting, well-told story about characters I can relate to does it for me, even if it isn’t incredibly original….

    Reply
  12. My only pet peeve is poor writing…and that includes a story that doesn’t ‘work’, characters that are inconsistent or badly drawn….and bad ‘mechanics’. I always tell my students not to ‘punish’ their prof with horrendous mistakes or make their reader work like a demon to understand their prose…. The same goes for me – don’t make me (the reader) do the writer’s or editor’s work. I’m off duty and want to have fun!
    That being said, I’m quite forgiving – I can gloss over the odd detail glitch….
    And I very much savour the odd time a ‘lovely’ word is used….and I appreciate a beautiful phrase, witty, well-paced dialogue, a lovely description. But I don’t want to work all that hard reading genre fiction because it is my escape and relaxation – and I have to be able to access it even at 3:30 am when I’m ‘stupid’.
    An interesting, well-told story about characters I can relate to does it for me, even if it isn’t incredibly original….

    Reply
  13. My only pet peeve is poor writing…and that includes a story that doesn’t ‘work’, characters that are inconsistent or badly drawn….and bad ‘mechanics’. I always tell my students not to ‘punish’ their prof with horrendous mistakes or make their reader work like a demon to understand their prose…. The same goes for me – don’t make me (the reader) do the writer’s or editor’s work. I’m off duty and want to have fun!
    That being said, I’m quite forgiving – I can gloss over the odd detail glitch….
    And I very much savour the odd time a ‘lovely’ word is used….and I appreciate a beautiful phrase, witty, well-paced dialogue, a lovely description. But I don’t want to work all that hard reading genre fiction because it is my escape and relaxation – and I have to be able to access it even at 3:30 am when I’m ‘stupid’.
    An interesting, well-told story about characters I can relate to does it for me, even if it isn’t incredibly original….

    Reply
  14. My only pet peeve is poor writing…and that includes a story that doesn’t ‘work’, characters that are inconsistent or badly drawn….and bad ‘mechanics’. I always tell my students not to ‘punish’ their prof with horrendous mistakes or make their reader work like a demon to understand their prose…. The same goes for me – don’t make me (the reader) do the writer’s or editor’s work. I’m off duty and want to have fun!
    That being said, I’m quite forgiving – I can gloss over the odd detail glitch….
    And I very much savour the odd time a ‘lovely’ word is used….and I appreciate a beautiful phrase, witty, well-paced dialogue, a lovely description. But I don’t want to work all that hard reading genre fiction because it is my escape and relaxation – and I have to be able to access it even at 3:30 am when I’m ‘stupid’.
    An interesting, well-told story about characters I can relate to does it for me, even if it isn’t incredibly original….

    Reply
  15. My only pet peeve is poor writing…and that includes a story that doesn’t ‘work’, characters that are inconsistent or badly drawn….and bad ‘mechanics’. I always tell my students not to ‘punish’ their prof with horrendous mistakes or make their reader work like a demon to understand their prose…. The same goes for me – don’t make me (the reader) do the writer’s or editor’s work. I’m off duty and want to have fun!
    That being said, I’m quite forgiving – I can gloss over the odd detail glitch….
    And I very much savour the odd time a ‘lovely’ word is used….and I appreciate a beautiful phrase, witty, well-paced dialogue, a lovely description. But I don’t want to work all that hard reading genre fiction because it is my escape and relaxation – and I have to be able to access it even at 3:30 am when I’m ‘stupid’.
    An interesting, well-told story about characters I can relate to does it for me, even if it isn’t incredibly original….

    Reply
  16. I’m with MJ. Poor writing has caused me to set aside many a book. When the language is just clunky, or the page is littered with unnecessary thought tags, I’m pushed out of the story because I’m overly aware of the writing itself (this might be what happens to other readers when they encounter those 3-dollar words).
    As a reader I’m most drawn to writers such as Julia Ross and Pam Rosenthal, two writers who seem to revel in the grandeur of the written word. But then I’ve never saw a 3-dollar word I didn’t like. *grin* “Nascent” is just soooooooo much better than “blooming” (sexier, more vivid, more imbued with colour and intent, if you know what I mean).

    Reply
  17. I’m with MJ. Poor writing has caused me to set aside many a book. When the language is just clunky, or the page is littered with unnecessary thought tags, I’m pushed out of the story because I’m overly aware of the writing itself (this might be what happens to other readers when they encounter those 3-dollar words).
    As a reader I’m most drawn to writers such as Julia Ross and Pam Rosenthal, two writers who seem to revel in the grandeur of the written word. But then I’ve never saw a 3-dollar word I didn’t like. *grin* “Nascent” is just soooooooo much better than “blooming” (sexier, more vivid, more imbued with colour and intent, if you know what I mean).

    Reply
  18. I’m with MJ. Poor writing has caused me to set aside many a book. When the language is just clunky, or the page is littered with unnecessary thought tags, I’m pushed out of the story because I’m overly aware of the writing itself (this might be what happens to other readers when they encounter those 3-dollar words).
    As a reader I’m most drawn to writers such as Julia Ross and Pam Rosenthal, two writers who seem to revel in the grandeur of the written word. But then I’ve never saw a 3-dollar word I didn’t like. *grin* “Nascent” is just soooooooo much better than “blooming” (sexier, more vivid, more imbued with colour and intent, if you know what I mean).

    Reply
  19. I’m with MJ. Poor writing has caused me to set aside many a book. When the language is just clunky, or the page is littered with unnecessary thought tags, I’m pushed out of the story because I’m overly aware of the writing itself (this might be what happens to other readers when they encounter those 3-dollar words).
    As a reader I’m most drawn to writers such as Julia Ross and Pam Rosenthal, two writers who seem to revel in the grandeur of the written word. But then I’ve never saw a 3-dollar word I didn’t like. *grin* “Nascent” is just soooooooo much better than “blooming” (sexier, more vivid, more imbued with colour and intent, if you know what I mean).

    Reply
  20. I’m with MJ. Poor writing has caused me to set aside many a book. When the language is just clunky, or the page is littered with unnecessary thought tags, I’m pushed out of the story because I’m overly aware of the writing itself (this might be what happens to other readers when they encounter those 3-dollar words).
    As a reader I’m most drawn to writers such as Julia Ross and Pam Rosenthal, two writers who seem to revel in the grandeur of the written word. But then I’ve never saw a 3-dollar word I didn’t like. *grin* “Nascent” is just soooooooo much better than “blooming” (sexier, more vivid, more imbued with colour and intent, if you know what I mean).

    Reply
  21. What will disappoint me the most about a genre book is when there is no story. Nothing happens, there’s no narrative drive, and there’s no reason for me to keep reading – or only one “weak” reason. It’s boring.
    I don’t like bad writing, but if the story is good enough, I can usually overlook it. I recently read one of the biggest historical fiction books of the past decade or so. At first, I was very surprised by how simple and basic the writing was, but I was soon swept up in the story and could care less about the very straightforward prose.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  22. What will disappoint me the most about a genre book is when there is no story. Nothing happens, there’s no narrative drive, and there’s no reason for me to keep reading – or only one “weak” reason. It’s boring.
    I don’t like bad writing, but if the story is good enough, I can usually overlook it. I recently read one of the biggest historical fiction books of the past decade or so. At first, I was very surprised by how simple and basic the writing was, but I was soon swept up in the story and could care less about the very straightforward prose.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  23. What will disappoint me the most about a genre book is when there is no story. Nothing happens, there’s no narrative drive, and there’s no reason for me to keep reading – or only one “weak” reason. It’s boring.
    I don’t like bad writing, but if the story is good enough, I can usually overlook it. I recently read one of the biggest historical fiction books of the past decade or so. At first, I was very surprised by how simple and basic the writing was, but I was soon swept up in the story and could care less about the very straightforward prose.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  24. What will disappoint me the most about a genre book is when there is no story. Nothing happens, there’s no narrative drive, and there’s no reason for me to keep reading – or only one “weak” reason. It’s boring.
    I don’t like bad writing, but if the story is good enough, I can usually overlook it. I recently read one of the biggest historical fiction books of the past decade or so. At first, I was very surprised by how simple and basic the writing was, but I was soon swept up in the story and could care less about the very straightforward prose.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  25. What will disappoint me the most about a genre book is when there is no story. Nothing happens, there’s no narrative drive, and there’s no reason for me to keep reading – or only one “weak” reason. It’s boring.
    I don’t like bad writing, but if the story is good enough, I can usually overlook it. I recently read one of the biggest historical fiction books of the past decade or so. At first, I was very surprised by how simple and basic the writing was, but I was soon swept up in the story and could care less about the very straightforward prose.
    -Michelle

    Reply
  26. Prose can be simple and still be elegant and engaging. I don’t need every book to read like it was written by Umberto Eco (in fact, that would leave me reaching for the TV remote quite frequently!). That wasn’t what I was trying to get at. What bothers me in a lot of fiction (and here I’m not just limiting myself to romance) is that I find the books are BADLY written, not just SIMPLY written. Clear, crisp prose that doesn’t get in its own way can be a joy.

    Reply
  27. Prose can be simple and still be elegant and engaging. I don’t need every book to read like it was written by Umberto Eco (in fact, that would leave me reaching for the TV remote quite frequently!). That wasn’t what I was trying to get at. What bothers me in a lot of fiction (and here I’m not just limiting myself to romance) is that I find the books are BADLY written, not just SIMPLY written. Clear, crisp prose that doesn’t get in its own way can be a joy.

    Reply
  28. Prose can be simple and still be elegant and engaging. I don’t need every book to read like it was written by Umberto Eco (in fact, that would leave me reaching for the TV remote quite frequently!). That wasn’t what I was trying to get at. What bothers me in a lot of fiction (and here I’m not just limiting myself to romance) is that I find the books are BADLY written, not just SIMPLY written. Clear, crisp prose that doesn’t get in its own way can be a joy.

    Reply
  29. Prose can be simple and still be elegant and engaging. I don’t need every book to read like it was written by Umberto Eco (in fact, that would leave me reaching for the TV remote quite frequently!). That wasn’t what I was trying to get at. What bothers me in a lot of fiction (and here I’m not just limiting myself to romance) is that I find the books are BADLY written, not just SIMPLY written. Clear, crisp prose that doesn’t get in its own way can be a joy.

    Reply
  30. Prose can be simple and still be elegant and engaging. I don’t need every book to read like it was written by Umberto Eco (in fact, that would leave me reaching for the TV remote quite frequently!). That wasn’t what I was trying to get at. What bothers me in a lot of fiction (and here I’m not just limiting myself to romance) is that I find the books are BADLY written, not just SIMPLY written. Clear, crisp prose that doesn’t get in its own way can be a joy.

    Reply
  31. I agree with Kalen. It’s not a question of style being simple or complex (dumb or pretentious if you prefer), but of calling attention to itself instead of conveying whatever message it is intended to convey. It’s bad enough to have to wade through ghastly academic prose. Pleasure reading should be a pleasure.
    My other pet peeve is stupid characters who either behave like badly brought up children or act with no recognizable motivation. I’m willing to put up with ahistorical behavior if the story is otherwise good, but I don’t want to keep saying, “Oh, grow up!” to the characters.

    Reply
  32. I agree with Kalen. It’s not a question of style being simple or complex (dumb or pretentious if you prefer), but of calling attention to itself instead of conveying whatever message it is intended to convey. It’s bad enough to have to wade through ghastly academic prose. Pleasure reading should be a pleasure.
    My other pet peeve is stupid characters who either behave like badly brought up children or act with no recognizable motivation. I’m willing to put up with ahistorical behavior if the story is otherwise good, but I don’t want to keep saying, “Oh, grow up!” to the characters.

    Reply
  33. I agree with Kalen. It’s not a question of style being simple or complex (dumb or pretentious if you prefer), but of calling attention to itself instead of conveying whatever message it is intended to convey. It’s bad enough to have to wade through ghastly academic prose. Pleasure reading should be a pleasure.
    My other pet peeve is stupid characters who either behave like badly brought up children or act with no recognizable motivation. I’m willing to put up with ahistorical behavior if the story is otherwise good, but I don’t want to keep saying, “Oh, grow up!” to the characters.

    Reply
  34. I agree with Kalen. It’s not a question of style being simple or complex (dumb or pretentious if you prefer), but of calling attention to itself instead of conveying whatever message it is intended to convey. It’s bad enough to have to wade through ghastly academic prose. Pleasure reading should be a pleasure.
    My other pet peeve is stupid characters who either behave like badly brought up children or act with no recognizable motivation. I’m willing to put up with ahistorical behavior if the story is otherwise good, but I don’t want to keep saying, “Oh, grow up!” to the characters.

    Reply
  35. I agree with Kalen. It’s not a question of style being simple or complex (dumb or pretentious if you prefer), but of calling attention to itself instead of conveying whatever message it is intended to convey. It’s bad enough to have to wade through ghastly academic prose. Pleasure reading should be a pleasure.
    My other pet peeve is stupid characters who either behave like badly brought up children or act with no recognizable motivation. I’m willing to put up with ahistorical behavior if the story is otherwise good, but I don’t want to keep saying, “Oh, grow up!” to the characters.

    Reply
  36. I find today with age I become distracted easy, under more stress and pressure.
    Give me a good story that flows and you can use any words you like. Have dictionary and know how to use it. So my reasoning would be I like both

    Reply
  37. I find today with age I become distracted easy, under more stress and pressure.
    Give me a good story that flows and you can use any words you like. Have dictionary and know how to use it. So my reasoning would be I like both

    Reply
  38. I find today with age I become distracted easy, under more stress and pressure.
    Give me a good story that flows and you can use any words you like. Have dictionary and know how to use it. So my reasoning would be I like both

    Reply
  39. I find today with age I become distracted easy, under more stress and pressure.
    Give me a good story that flows and you can use any words you like. Have dictionary and know how to use it. So my reasoning would be I like both

    Reply
  40. I find today with age I become distracted easy, under more stress and pressure.
    Give me a good story that flows and you can use any words you like. Have dictionary and know how to use it. So my reasoning would be I like both

    Reply
  41. Francois and Maggie, you two made my morning, but I dutifully dug into the MIP and got my morning work done before coming back here to play.
    For those of you who like description, a quote from the opening of John Moore’s A FATE WORSE THAN DRAGONS: “This is the forest primeval, where the murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded with moss, stand like Druids of eld, and the young elms sway like sailors in the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour liberty.”
    Everything to make your literary hearts happy, and done in simple, accessible language, with humor and a voice that sucks you in. He may not use “nascent,” (and really, Kalen! You get all that from nascent? I get nose drip. “G”) but he’s using all those other writing techniques everyone has commented on.
    And Jane, right this minute, after reading some drivel over lunch, I’d trade you two stupid characters for ten pages of drool and sighs. At least Jane Eyre verbally smacked Rochester around a few times! “We can’t…we must…we have to…no, ’tis wrong!”
    A good whack is needed after that. And I don’t think I meant that as it sounded, but whatever…

    Reply
  42. Francois and Maggie, you two made my morning, but I dutifully dug into the MIP and got my morning work done before coming back here to play.
    For those of you who like description, a quote from the opening of John Moore’s A FATE WORSE THAN DRAGONS: “This is the forest primeval, where the murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded with moss, stand like Druids of eld, and the young elms sway like sailors in the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour liberty.”
    Everything to make your literary hearts happy, and done in simple, accessible language, with humor and a voice that sucks you in. He may not use “nascent,” (and really, Kalen! You get all that from nascent? I get nose drip. “G”) but he’s using all those other writing techniques everyone has commented on.
    And Jane, right this minute, after reading some drivel over lunch, I’d trade you two stupid characters for ten pages of drool and sighs. At least Jane Eyre verbally smacked Rochester around a few times! “We can’t…we must…we have to…no, ’tis wrong!”
    A good whack is needed after that. And I don’t think I meant that as it sounded, but whatever…

    Reply
  43. Francois and Maggie, you two made my morning, but I dutifully dug into the MIP and got my morning work done before coming back here to play.
    For those of you who like description, a quote from the opening of John Moore’s A FATE WORSE THAN DRAGONS: “This is the forest primeval, where the murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded with moss, stand like Druids of eld, and the young elms sway like sailors in the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour liberty.”
    Everything to make your literary hearts happy, and done in simple, accessible language, with humor and a voice that sucks you in. He may not use “nascent,” (and really, Kalen! You get all that from nascent? I get nose drip. “G”) but he’s using all those other writing techniques everyone has commented on.
    And Jane, right this minute, after reading some drivel over lunch, I’d trade you two stupid characters for ten pages of drool and sighs. At least Jane Eyre verbally smacked Rochester around a few times! “We can’t…we must…we have to…no, ’tis wrong!”
    A good whack is needed after that. And I don’t think I meant that as it sounded, but whatever…

    Reply
  44. Francois and Maggie, you two made my morning, but I dutifully dug into the MIP and got my morning work done before coming back here to play.
    For those of you who like description, a quote from the opening of John Moore’s A FATE WORSE THAN DRAGONS: “This is the forest primeval, where the murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded with moss, stand like Druids of eld, and the young elms sway like sailors in the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour liberty.”
    Everything to make your literary hearts happy, and done in simple, accessible language, with humor and a voice that sucks you in. He may not use “nascent,” (and really, Kalen! You get all that from nascent? I get nose drip. “G”) but he’s using all those other writing techniques everyone has commented on.
    And Jane, right this minute, after reading some drivel over lunch, I’d trade you two stupid characters for ten pages of drool and sighs. At least Jane Eyre verbally smacked Rochester around a few times! “We can’t…we must…we have to…no, ’tis wrong!”
    A good whack is needed after that. And I don’t think I meant that as it sounded, but whatever…

    Reply
  45. Francois and Maggie, you two made my morning, but I dutifully dug into the MIP and got my morning work done before coming back here to play.
    For those of you who like description, a quote from the opening of John Moore’s A FATE WORSE THAN DRAGONS: “This is the forest primeval, where the murmuring pines and hemlocks, bearded with moss, stand like Druids of eld, and the young elms sway like sailors in the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour liberty.”
    Everything to make your literary hearts happy, and done in simple, accessible language, with humor and a voice that sucks you in. He may not use “nascent,” (and really, Kalen! You get all that from nascent? I get nose drip. “G”) but he’s using all those other writing techniques everyone has commented on.
    And Jane, right this minute, after reading some drivel over lunch, I’d trade you two stupid characters for ten pages of drool and sighs. At least Jane Eyre verbally smacked Rochester around a few times! “We can’t…we must…we have to…no, ’tis wrong!”
    A good whack is needed after that. And I don’t think I meant that as it sounded, but whatever…

    Reply
  46. Hear hear Kalen….
    I like ‘nascent’ too…my mind never even connected with ‘nasal’…. I connect with ‘ascent’ on this one and feel vaguely uplifted. (-;
    I think I would compare reading really bad writing to watching someone ‘run’ in an Olympic track and field event with a broken ankle. It’s so distracting, you lose focus on the race/story, and it’s downright painful. I’d prefer the tension to come from the story itself, rather than me holding my breath, hoping the author will manage to salvage the trainwreck somehow…
    Sorry. Just read a romance that was particularly horrible… and I hoped right to the end. Next time, I’ll put it down. (-; (And no – I doubt it’s anyone any of YOU know at all well – not a historical either! And thankfully, it was in a bunch of secondhand books someone gave me…so only my time was spent.)
    (BTW, Kalen, your book came in the mail today – I’m SO looking forward to reading it. The ‘antidote’, no doubt….) (-;

    Reply
  47. Hear hear Kalen….
    I like ‘nascent’ too…my mind never even connected with ‘nasal’…. I connect with ‘ascent’ on this one and feel vaguely uplifted. (-;
    I think I would compare reading really bad writing to watching someone ‘run’ in an Olympic track and field event with a broken ankle. It’s so distracting, you lose focus on the race/story, and it’s downright painful. I’d prefer the tension to come from the story itself, rather than me holding my breath, hoping the author will manage to salvage the trainwreck somehow…
    Sorry. Just read a romance that was particularly horrible… and I hoped right to the end. Next time, I’ll put it down. (-; (And no – I doubt it’s anyone any of YOU know at all well – not a historical either! And thankfully, it was in a bunch of secondhand books someone gave me…so only my time was spent.)
    (BTW, Kalen, your book came in the mail today – I’m SO looking forward to reading it. The ‘antidote’, no doubt….) (-;

    Reply
  48. Hear hear Kalen….
    I like ‘nascent’ too…my mind never even connected with ‘nasal’…. I connect with ‘ascent’ on this one and feel vaguely uplifted. (-;
    I think I would compare reading really bad writing to watching someone ‘run’ in an Olympic track and field event with a broken ankle. It’s so distracting, you lose focus on the race/story, and it’s downright painful. I’d prefer the tension to come from the story itself, rather than me holding my breath, hoping the author will manage to salvage the trainwreck somehow…
    Sorry. Just read a romance that was particularly horrible… and I hoped right to the end. Next time, I’ll put it down. (-; (And no – I doubt it’s anyone any of YOU know at all well – not a historical either! And thankfully, it was in a bunch of secondhand books someone gave me…so only my time was spent.)
    (BTW, Kalen, your book came in the mail today – I’m SO looking forward to reading it. The ‘antidote’, no doubt….) (-;

    Reply
  49. Hear hear Kalen….
    I like ‘nascent’ too…my mind never even connected with ‘nasal’…. I connect with ‘ascent’ on this one and feel vaguely uplifted. (-;
    I think I would compare reading really bad writing to watching someone ‘run’ in an Olympic track and field event with a broken ankle. It’s so distracting, you lose focus on the race/story, and it’s downright painful. I’d prefer the tension to come from the story itself, rather than me holding my breath, hoping the author will manage to salvage the trainwreck somehow…
    Sorry. Just read a romance that was particularly horrible… and I hoped right to the end. Next time, I’ll put it down. (-; (And no – I doubt it’s anyone any of YOU know at all well – not a historical either! And thankfully, it was in a bunch of secondhand books someone gave me…so only my time was spent.)
    (BTW, Kalen, your book came in the mail today – I’m SO looking forward to reading it. The ‘antidote’, no doubt….) (-;

    Reply
  50. Hear hear Kalen….
    I like ‘nascent’ too…my mind never even connected with ‘nasal’…. I connect with ‘ascent’ on this one and feel vaguely uplifted. (-;
    I think I would compare reading really bad writing to watching someone ‘run’ in an Olympic track and field event with a broken ankle. It’s so distracting, you lose focus on the race/story, and it’s downright painful. I’d prefer the tension to come from the story itself, rather than me holding my breath, hoping the author will manage to salvage the trainwreck somehow…
    Sorry. Just read a romance that was particularly horrible… and I hoped right to the end. Next time, I’ll put it down. (-; (And no – I doubt it’s anyone any of YOU know at all well – not a historical either! And thankfully, it was in a bunch of secondhand books someone gave me…so only my time was spent.)
    (BTW, Kalen, your book came in the mail today – I’m SO looking forward to reading it. The ‘antidote’, no doubt….) (-;

    Reply
  51. A word to offer: vagulate. It means to wander around vaguely, something I have a tendency to do myself. Apparently it’s one of those nonce words. The only person who ever used it was Virginia Woolf, who probably also invented it. But I do like it and would love to see it move into general use.

    Reply
  52. A word to offer: vagulate. It means to wander around vaguely, something I have a tendency to do myself. Apparently it’s one of those nonce words. The only person who ever used it was Virginia Woolf, who probably also invented it. But I do like it and would love to see it move into general use.

    Reply
  53. A word to offer: vagulate. It means to wander around vaguely, something I have a tendency to do myself. Apparently it’s one of those nonce words. The only person who ever used it was Virginia Woolf, who probably also invented it. But I do like it and would love to see it move into general use.

    Reply
  54. A word to offer: vagulate. It means to wander around vaguely, something I have a tendency to do myself. Apparently it’s one of those nonce words. The only person who ever used it was Virginia Woolf, who probably also invented it. But I do like it and would love to see it move into general use.

    Reply
  55. A word to offer: vagulate. It means to wander around vaguely, something I have a tendency to do myself. Apparently it’s one of those nonce words. The only person who ever used it was Virginia Woolf, who probably also invented it. But I do like it and would love to see it move into general use.

    Reply
  56. From Sherrie:
    Pets peeves: characters who are TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) or who don’t behave in a logical way.
    But I love big $3 words, and have expanded my vocabulary from being exposed to them in novels. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a scholarly-looking man sitting on an examination table while his doctor is holding up an X-ray of the patient’s skull. The doctor is saying, “You have an enlarged vocabulary.”
    I love when writers surprise and delight me. I love it when a scene you just *know* is headed for an old cliched bit of dialogue or action, but the writer pulls it off either in a wonderfully different way, or takes the same old same old and writes it with refreshing simplicity. Loretta Chase is a master at both.
    Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian are two of my favorite writers. Their writing is vivid and compelling. Dunnett has an evil genius for weaving complex plots and then making you laugh out loud when you least expect it. I love when O’Brian uses both the $3 words (“nacreous” to describe clouds), and simple descriptions that delight, such as when he described a morose old servant leaving the room, and who, upon hearing good news, “skipped back into the room like a boy, looking ten years younger.”
    Good writing is knowing when to use the big words and when a simpler one works better. It’s characters you care for, and a story that keeps you turning the pages. Good writing is compelling. It surprises, delights, and pleases. It seems so many writers are content with “adequate” because it’s too hard to rise above that level.

    Reply
  57. From Sherrie:
    Pets peeves: characters who are TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) or who don’t behave in a logical way.
    But I love big $3 words, and have expanded my vocabulary from being exposed to them in novels. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a scholarly-looking man sitting on an examination table while his doctor is holding up an X-ray of the patient’s skull. The doctor is saying, “You have an enlarged vocabulary.”
    I love when writers surprise and delight me. I love it when a scene you just *know* is headed for an old cliched bit of dialogue or action, but the writer pulls it off either in a wonderfully different way, or takes the same old same old and writes it with refreshing simplicity. Loretta Chase is a master at both.
    Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian are two of my favorite writers. Their writing is vivid and compelling. Dunnett has an evil genius for weaving complex plots and then making you laugh out loud when you least expect it. I love when O’Brian uses both the $3 words (“nacreous” to describe clouds), and simple descriptions that delight, such as when he described a morose old servant leaving the room, and who, upon hearing good news, “skipped back into the room like a boy, looking ten years younger.”
    Good writing is knowing when to use the big words and when a simpler one works better. It’s characters you care for, and a story that keeps you turning the pages. Good writing is compelling. It surprises, delights, and pleases. It seems so many writers are content with “adequate” because it’s too hard to rise above that level.

    Reply
  58. From Sherrie:
    Pets peeves: characters who are TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) or who don’t behave in a logical way.
    But I love big $3 words, and have expanded my vocabulary from being exposed to them in novels. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a scholarly-looking man sitting on an examination table while his doctor is holding up an X-ray of the patient’s skull. The doctor is saying, “You have an enlarged vocabulary.”
    I love when writers surprise and delight me. I love it when a scene you just *know* is headed for an old cliched bit of dialogue or action, but the writer pulls it off either in a wonderfully different way, or takes the same old same old and writes it with refreshing simplicity. Loretta Chase is a master at both.
    Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian are two of my favorite writers. Their writing is vivid and compelling. Dunnett has an evil genius for weaving complex plots and then making you laugh out loud when you least expect it. I love when O’Brian uses both the $3 words (“nacreous” to describe clouds), and simple descriptions that delight, such as when he described a morose old servant leaving the room, and who, upon hearing good news, “skipped back into the room like a boy, looking ten years younger.”
    Good writing is knowing when to use the big words and when a simpler one works better. It’s characters you care for, and a story that keeps you turning the pages. Good writing is compelling. It surprises, delights, and pleases. It seems so many writers are content with “adequate” because it’s too hard to rise above that level.

    Reply
  59. From Sherrie:
    Pets peeves: characters who are TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) or who don’t behave in a logical way.
    But I love big $3 words, and have expanded my vocabulary from being exposed to them in novels. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a scholarly-looking man sitting on an examination table while his doctor is holding up an X-ray of the patient’s skull. The doctor is saying, “You have an enlarged vocabulary.”
    I love when writers surprise and delight me. I love it when a scene you just *know* is headed for an old cliched bit of dialogue or action, but the writer pulls it off either in a wonderfully different way, or takes the same old same old and writes it with refreshing simplicity. Loretta Chase is a master at both.
    Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian are two of my favorite writers. Their writing is vivid and compelling. Dunnett has an evil genius for weaving complex plots and then making you laugh out loud when you least expect it. I love when O’Brian uses both the $3 words (“nacreous” to describe clouds), and simple descriptions that delight, such as when he described a morose old servant leaving the room, and who, upon hearing good news, “skipped back into the room like a boy, looking ten years younger.”
    Good writing is knowing when to use the big words and when a simpler one works better. It’s characters you care for, and a story that keeps you turning the pages. Good writing is compelling. It surprises, delights, and pleases. It seems so many writers are content with “adequate” because it’s too hard to rise above that level.

    Reply
  60. From Sherrie:
    Pets peeves: characters who are TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) or who don’t behave in a logical way.
    But I love big $3 words, and have expanded my vocabulary from being exposed to them in novels. One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a scholarly-looking man sitting on an examination table while his doctor is holding up an X-ray of the patient’s skull. The doctor is saying, “You have an enlarged vocabulary.”
    I love when writers surprise and delight me. I love it when a scene you just *know* is headed for an old cliched bit of dialogue or action, but the writer pulls it off either in a wonderfully different way, or takes the same old same old and writes it with refreshing simplicity. Loretta Chase is a master at both.
    Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian are two of my favorite writers. Their writing is vivid and compelling. Dunnett has an evil genius for weaving complex plots and then making you laugh out loud when you least expect it. I love when O’Brian uses both the $3 words (“nacreous” to describe clouds), and simple descriptions that delight, such as when he described a morose old servant leaving the room, and who, upon hearing good news, “skipped back into the room like a boy, looking ten years younger.”
    Good writing is knowing when to use the big words and when a simpler one works better. It’s characters you care for, and a story that keeps you turning the pages. Good writing is compelling. It surprises, delights, and pleases. It seems so many writers are content with “adequate” because it’s too hard to rise above that level.

    Reply
  61. ‘Nascent’ suggests that something is either being born or is newborn (usually metaphorically so). Blooming, on the other hand, means that something is coming into maturity and the fullness of its beauty.
    I don’t like it when authors try to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. For example, I wouldn’t say you could ‘swathe’ food in a sauce because the word ‘swathe’ creates the image of cloth being wrapped round and round something, whereas sauces are usually dribbled or poured on top.

    Reply
  62. ‘Nascent’ suggests that something is either being born or is newborn (usually metaphorically so). Blooming, on the other hand, means that something is coming into maturity and the fullness of its beauty.
    I don’t like it when authors try to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. For example, I wouldn’t say you could ‘swathe’ food in a sauce because the word ‘swathe’ creates the image of cloth being wrapped round and round something, whereas sauces are usually dribbled or poured on top.

    Reply
  63. ‘Nascent’ suggests that something is either being born or is newborn (usually metaphorically so). Blooming, on the other hand, means that something is coming into maturity and the fullness of its beauty.
    I don’t like it when authors try to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. For example, I wouldn’t say you could ‘swathe’ food in a sauce because the word ‘swathe’ creates the image of cloth being wrapped round and round something, whereas sauces are usually dribbled or poured on top.

    Reply
  64. ‘Nascent’ suggests that something is either being born or is newborn (usually metaphorically so). Blooming, on the other hand, means that something is coming into maturity and the fullness of its beauty.
    I don’t like it when authors try to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. For example, I wouldn’t say you could ‘swathe’ food in a sauce because the word ‘swathe’ creates the image of cloth being wrapped round and round something, whereas sauces are usually dribbled or poured on top.

    Reply
  65. ‘Nascent’ suggests that something is either being born or is newborn (usually metaphorically so). Blooming, on the other hand, means that something is coming into maturity and the fullness of its beauty.
    I don’t like it when authors try to use words they don’t really know the meaning of. For example, I wouldn’t say you could ‘swathe’ food in a sauce because the word ‘swathe’ creates the image of cloth being wrapped round and round something, whereas sauces are usually dribbled or poured on top.

    Reply
  66. Good catch, I should have said budding instead of blooming, sorry. And I’m willing to agree that sometimes, the $3 word is the only one that will work. But sometimes, authors have a habit of reaching for the elusive word, the one better than anyone else’s, and they stretch a point so thin it falls through. (and would I do such a thing? Oh horrors, never, after the first time or three)”Swathe” is an excellent example. I’d be imagining cotton threads in the sauce.
    Sherrie, you’re such a cheerleader, thank you! Telling us what good writing is instead of isn’t, the power of positive thinking!
    Vagulate! Sounds like a combination of vagina and vacillate and causes serious damage to my imagination. “G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  67. Good catch, I should have said budding instead of blooming, sorry. And I’m willing to agree that sometimes, the $3 word is the only one that will work. But sometimes, authors have a habit of reaching for the elusive word, the one better than anyone else’s, and they stretch a point so thin it falls through. (and would I do such a thing? Oh horrors, never, after the first time or three)”Swathe” is an excellent example. I’d be imagining cotton threads in the sauce.
    Sherrie, you’re such a cheerleader, thank you! Telling us what good writing is instead of isn’t, the power of positive thinking!
    Vagulate! Sounds like a combination of vagina and vacillate and causes serious damage to my imagination. “G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  68. Good catch, I should have said budding instead of blooming, sorry. And I’m willing to agree that sometimes, the $3 word is the only one that will work. But sometimes, authors have a habit of reaching for the elusive word, the one better than anyone else’s, and they stretch a point so thin it falls through. (and would I do such a thing? Oh horrors, never, after the first time or three)”Swathe” is an excellent example. I’d be imagining cotton threads in the sauce.
    Sherrie, you’re such a cheerleader, thank you! Telling us what good writing is instead of isn’t, the power of positive thinking!
    Vagulate! Sounds like a combination of vagina and vacillate and causes serious damage to my imagination. “G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  69. Good catch, I should have said budding instead of blooming, sorry. And I’m willing to agree that sometimes, the $3 word is the only one that will work. But sometimes, authors have a habit of reaching for the elusive word, the one better than anyone else’s, and they stretch a point so thin it falls through. (and would I do such a thing? Oh horrors, never, after the first time or three)”Swathe” is an excellent example. I’d be imagining cotton threads in the sauce.
    Sherrie, you’re such a cheerleader, thank you! Telling us what good writing is instead of isn’t, the power of positive thinking!
    Vagulate! Sounds like a combination of vagina and vacillate and causes serious damage to my imagination. “G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  70. Good catch, I should have said budding instead of blooming, sorry. And I’m willing to agree that sometimes, the $3 word is the only one that will work. But sometimes, authors have a habit of reaching for the elusive word, the one better than anyone else’s, and they stretch a point so thin it falls through. (and would I do such a thing? Oh horrors, never, after the first time or three)”Swathe” is an excellent example. I’d be imagining cotton threads in the sauce.
    Sherrie, you’re such a cheerleader, thank you! Telling us what good writing is instead of isn’t, the power of positive thinking!
    Vagulate! Sounds like a combination of vagina and vacillate and causes serious damage to my imagination. “G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.

    Reply
  71. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply that some writers have strange vocabularies, that they don’t realize are strange. For example, I had to call Air New Zealand (can’t wait for this trip!) and I was reeling of my reservation code I said “X as in Xanadu”. This does not seem all that strange to me. It floored the lady on the phone. The same day one of my best friends asked a coworker, “Are those sacrosanct?” indicating a stack of prototypes. I guess she could have simply asked if she could have one, but that’s not the way most of my friends talk. It’s far more in character to say what she did.
    Right now I’m thoroughly amused by this same friend’s crusade to make “depiphany” a word. It’s the opposite of having an “epiphany”. LOL! So when you have that sudden, horrible realization about something, what you’ve had is a depiphany.

    Reply
  72. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply that some writers have strange vocabularies, that they don’t realize are strange. For example, I had to call Air New Zealand (can’t wait for this trip!) and I was reeling of my reservation code I said “X as in Xanadu”. This does not seem all that strange to me. It floored the lady on the phone. The same day one of my best friends asked a coworker, “Are those sacrosanct?” indicating a stack of prototypes. I guess she could have simply asked if she could have one, but that’s not the way most of my friends talk. It’s far more in character to say what she did.
    Right now I’m thoroughly amused by this same friend’s crusade to make “depiphany” a word. It’s the opposite of having an “epiphany”. LOL! So when you have that sudden, horrible realization about something, what you’ve had is a depiphany.

    Reply
  73. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply that some writers have strange vocabularies, that they don’t realize are strange. For example, I had to call Air New Zealand (can’t wait for this trip!) and I was reeling of my reservation code I said “X as in Xanadu”. This does not seem all that strange to me. It floored the lady on the phone. The same day one of my best friends asked a coworker, “Are those sacrosanct?” indicating a stack of prototypes. I guess she could have simply asked if she could have one, but that’s not the way most of my friends talk. It’s far more in character to say what she did.
    Right now I’m thoroughly amused by this same friend’s crusade to make “depiphany” a word. It’s the opposite of having an “epiphany”. LOL! So when you have that sudden, horrible realization about something, what you’ve had is a depiphany.

    Reply
  74. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply that some writers have strange vocabularies, that they don’t realize are strange. For example, I had to call Air New Zealand (can’t wait for this trip!) and I was reeling of my reservation code I said “X as in Xanadu”. This does not seem all that strange to me. It floored the lady on the phone. The same day one of my best friends asked a coworker, “Are those sacrosanct?” indicating a stack of prototypes. I guess she could have simply asked if she could have one, but that’s not the way most of my friends talk. It’s far more in character to say what she did.
    Right now I’m thoroughly amused by this same friend’s crusade to make “depiphany” a word. It’s the opposite of having an “epiphany”. LOL! So when you have that sudden, horrible realization about something, what you’ve had is a depiphany.

    Reply
  75. I sometimes wonder if it’s simply that some writers have strange vocabularies, that they don’t realize are strange. For example, I had to call Air New Zealand (can’t wait for this trip!) and I was reeling of my reservation code I said “X as in Xanadu”. This does not seem all that strange to me. It floored the lady on the phone. The same day one of my best friends asked a coworker, “Are those sacrosanct?” indicating a stack of prototypes. I guess she could have simply asked if she could have one, but that’s not the way most of my friends talk. It’s far more in character to say what she did.
    Right now I’m thoroughly amused by this same friend’s crusade to make “depiphany” a word. It’s the opposite of having an “epiphany”. LOL! So when you have that sudden, horrible realization about something, what you’ve had is a depiphany.

    Reply
  76. Sorry, Patricia, I wasn’t implying that you didn’t know the meanings of either ‘nascent’ or ‘blooming’. When I said that some authors don’t know the meanings of some of the words they use I was referring to the strange use of the word ‘swathe’, which is a real example, by an author who is not a Word Wench and who frequently makes errors like that. Doesn’t stop her being a best-seller, though.
    What’s important to me is that the author finds the right words to convey the characterisation and emotion.
    >>”G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.<< That's a valid point, though. Even if a word is technically correct, if it sounds strange or has developed new/stronger associations connected to another meaning it'll distract readers. Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as 'erections' and exclamations as 'ejaculations' but I don't think any modern author would.

    Reply
  77. Sorry, Patricia, I wasn’t implying that you didn’t know the meanings of either ‘nascent’ or ‘blooming’. When I said that some authors don’t know the meanings of some of the words they use I was referring to the strange use of the word ‘swathe’, which is a real example, by an author who is not a Word Wench and who frequently makes errors like that. Doesn’t stop her being a best-seller, though.
    What’s important to me is that the author finds the right words to convey the characterisation and emotion.
    >>”G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.<< That's a valid point, though. Even if a word is technically correct, if it sounds strange or has developed new/stronger associations connected to another meaning it'll distract readers. Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as 'erections' and exclamations as 'ejaculations' but I don't think any modern author would.

    Reply
  78. Sorry, Patricia, I wasn’t implying that you didn’t know the meanings of either ‘nascent’ or ‘blooming’. When I said that some authors don’t know the meanings of some of the words they use I was referring to the strange use of the word ‘swathe’, which is a real example, by an author who is not a Word Wench and who frequently makes errors like that. Doesn’t stop her being a best-seller, though.
    What’s important to me is that the author finds the right words to convey the characterisation and emotion.
    >>”G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.<< That's a valid point, though. Even if a word is technically correct, if it sounds strange or has developed new/stronger associations connected to another meaning it'll distract readers. Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as 'erections' and exclamations as 'ejaculations' but I don't think any modern author would.

    Reply
  79. Sorry, Patricia, I wasn’t implying that you didn’t know the meanings of either ‘nascent’ or ‘blooming’. When I said that some authors don’t know the meanings of some of the words they use I was referring to the strange use of the word ‘swathe’, which is a real example, by an author who is not a Word Wench and who frequently makes errors like that. Doesn’t stop her being a best-seller, though.
    What’s important to me is that the author finds the right words to convey the characterisation and emotion.
    >>”G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.<< That's a valid point, though. Even if a word is technically correct, if it sounds strange or has developed new/stronger associations connected to another meaning it'll distract readers. Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as 'erections' and exclamations as 'ejaculations' but I don't think any modern author would.

    Reply
  80. Sorry, Patricia, I wasn’t implying that you didn’t know the meanings of either ‘nascent’ or ‘blooming’. When I said that some authors don’t know the meanings of some of the words they use I was referring to the strange use of the word ‘swathe’, which is a real example, by an author who is not a Word Wench and who frequently makes errors like that. Doesn’t stop her being a best-seller, though.
    What’s important to me is that the author finds the right words to convey the characterisation and emotion.
    >>”G” Okay, so let’s face it, my vocabulary sinks to the lowest common denominator.<< That's a valid point, though. Even if a word is technically correct, if it sounds strange or has developed new/stronger associations connected to another meaning it'll distract readers. Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as 'erections' and exclamations as 'ejaculations' but I don't think any modern author would.

    Reply
  81. Laura, on that very topic: in college, still living and breathing Georgette, I used the word “ejaculate” several times in an English paper (to mean “exclaim,” of course, as I was a Sweet Young Thing at the time). My professor circled them in red and tsk-tsked me in his comments. I was so embarrassed!
    ::still blushing 25 years later::

    Reply
  82. Laura, on that very topic: in college, still living and breathing Georgette, I used the word “ejaculate” several times in an English paper (to mean “exclaim,” of course, as I was a Sweet Young Thing at the time). My professor circled them in red and tsk-tsked me in his comments. I was so embarrassed!
    ::still blushing 25 years later::

    Reply
  83. Laura, on that very topic: in college, still living and breathing Georgette, I used the word “ejaculate” several times in an English paper (to mean “exclaim,” of course, as I was a Sweet Young Thing at the time). My professor circled them in red and tsk-tsked me in his comments. I was so embarrassed!
    ::still blushing 25 years later::

    Reply
  84. Laura, on that very topic: in college, still living and breathing Georgette, I used the word “ejaculate” several times in an English paper (to mean “exclaim,” of course, as I was a Sweet Young Thing at the time). My professor circled them in red and tsk-tsked me in his comments. I was so embarrassed!
    ::still blushing 25 years later::

    Reply
  85. Laura, on that very topic: in college, still living and breathing Georgette, I used the word “ejaculate” several times in an English paper (to mean “exclaim,” of course, as I was a Sweet Young Thing at the time). My professor circled them in red and tsk-tsked me in his comments. I was so embarrassed!
    ::still blushing 25 years later::

    Reply
  86. “Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as ‘erections’ and exclamations as ‘ejaculations’ but I don’t think any modern author would.”
    This was one of the maaaaannnnny lessons I got slapped up-side the head with in my early contest days. LOL! I still rather like Heyer’s usage, but I finally bowed to overwhelming sentiment and simply went with action tags instead.

    Reply
  87. “Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as ‘erections’ and exclamations as ‘ejaculations’ but I don’t think any modern author would.”
    This was one of the maaaaannnnny lessons I got slapped up-side the head with in my early contest days. LOL! I still rather like Heyer’s usage, but I finally bowed to overwhelming sentiment and simply went with action tags instead.

    Reply
  88. “Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as ‘erections’ and exclamations as ‘ejaculations’ but I don’t think any modern author would.”
    This was one of the maaaaannnnny lessons I got slapped up-side the head with in my early contest days. LOL! I still rather like Heyer’s usage, but I finally bowed to overwhelming sentiment and simply went with action tags instead.

    Reply
  89. “Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as ‘erections’ and exclamations as ‘ejaculations’ but I don’t think any modern author would.”
    This was one of the maaaaannnnny lessons I got slapped up-side the head with in my early contest days. LOL! I still rather like Heyer’s usage, but I finally bowed to overwhelming sentiment and simply went with action tags instead.

    Reply
  90. “Georgette Heyer could get away with describing buildings as ‘erections’ and exclamations as ‘ejaculations’ but I don’t think any modern author would.”
    This was one of the maaaaannnnny lessons I got slapped up-side the head with in my early contest days. LOL! I still rather like Heyer’s usage, but I finally bowed to overwhelming sentiment and simply went with action tags instead.

    Reply
  91. Things that make me put a book down and decide not to read any more titles, even if it’s a best-selling author: formulaic, cliche’-ridden, fluffy, auto-pilot writing, supermodels, navy seals, multi-millionaire tycoons, etc.
    Things that make me go “wheee!” and run out to get back-lists: wit, a convention cleverly turned on its ear, authentic emotion and experience, unique characters with thoughtful motivations.
    I’m a bit dismayed by the back-and-forth bashing that goes on between the commercial and literary genres.
    I’ve read literary books filled with cliche’ and anything-but-dumb commercial fiction.
    I love it when a writer hits one out of the park. Proulx’s The Shipping News and Maguire’s Wicked
    come to mind. Both well-written, and both big commercial successes.

    Reply
  92. Things that make me put a book down and decide not to read any more titles, even if it’s a best-selling author: formulaic, cliche’-ridden, fluffy, auto-pilot writing, supermodels, navy seals, multi-millionaire tycoons, etc.
    Things that make me go “wheee!” and run out to get back-lists: wit, a convention cleverly turned on its ear, authentic emotion and experience, unique characters with thoughtful motivations.
    I’m a bit dismayed by the back-and-forth bashing that goes on between the commercial and literary genres.
    I’ve read literary books filled with cliche’ and anything-but-dumb commercial fiction.
    I love it when a writer hits one out of the park. Proulx’s The Shipping News and Maguire’s Wicked
    come to mind. Both well-written, and both big commercial successes.

    Reply
  93. Things that make me put a book down and decide not to read any more titles, even if it’s a best-selling author: formulaic, cliche’-ridden, fluffy, auto-pilot writing, supermodels, navy seals, multi-millionaire tycoons, etc.
    Things that make me go “wheee!” and run out to get back-lists: wit, a convention cleverly turned on its ear, authentic emotion and experience, unique characters with thoughtful motivations.
    I’m a bit dismayed by the back-and-forth bashing that goes on between the commercial and literary genres.
    I’ve read literary books filled with cliche’ and anything-but-dumb commercial fiction.
    I love it when a writer hits one out of the park. Proulx’s The Shipping News and Maguire’s Wicked
    come to mind. Both well-written, and both big commercial successes.

    Reply
  94. Things that make me put a book down and decide not to read any more titles, even if it’s a best-selling author: formulaic, cliche’-ridden, fluffy, auto-pilot writing, supermodels, navy seals, multi-millionaire tycoons, etc.
    Things that make me go “wheee!” and run out to get back-lists: wit, a convention cleverly turned on its ear, authentic emotion and experience, unique characters with thoughtful motivations.
    I’m a bit dismayed by the back-and-forth bashing that goes on between the commercial and literary genres.
    I’ve read literary books filled with cliche’ and anything-but-dumb commercial fiction.
    I love it when a writer hits one out of the park. Proulx’s The Shipping News and Maguire’s Wicked
    come to mind. Both well-written, and both big commercial successes.

    Reply
  95. Things that make me put a book down and decide not to read any more titles, even if it’s a best-selling author: formulaic, cliche’-ridden, fluffy, auto-pilot writing, supermodels, navy seals, multi-millionaire tycoons, etc.
    Things that make me go “wheee!” and run out to get back-lists: wit, a convention cleverly turned on its ear, authentic emotion and experience, unique characters with thoughtful motivations.
    I’m a bit dismayed by the back-and-forth bashing that goes on between the commercial and literary genres.
    I’ve read literary books filled with cliche’ and anything-but-dumb commercial fiction.
    I love it when a writer hits one out of the park. Proulx’s The Shipping News and Maguire’s Wicked
    come to mind. Both well-written, and both big commercial successes.

    Reply
  96. y’all keep me grinning! Ejaculate, yes!! Apparently it’s not only my imagination that sinks to the lowest common denominator. “G”
    And Kalen, growing up as I did, I was frequently looked upon as strange because of the words that would pop out of my mouth that no one else (even the teachers) knew. Some of us are just highly verbal. (I will refrain from discussing my 6-year old granddaughter who has a vocabulary that would make most college students go cross-eyed)I learned not to flaunt my language because it made some people uncomfortable. Yes, they could learn the words by my using them, but they could also feel as if I were deliberately insulting them. So again, it’s a balancing act.
    Jane, totally agree. But it’s the literary fiction that’s accessible that’s most likely to do well, and their authors are likely to be insulted for doing so.
    IMO, it’s far better to have your prose read by multitudes than the intellectual few who already share your opinion and understand your theme. Rather like preaching to the choir, right?

    Reply
  97. y’all keep me grinning! Ejaculate, yes!! Apparently it’s not only my imagination that sinks to the lowest common denominator. “G”
    And Kalen, growing up as I did, I was frequently looked upon as strange because of the words that would pop out of my mouth that no one else (even the teachers) knew. Some of us are just highly verbal. (I will refrain from discussing my 6-year old granddaughter who has a vocabulary that would make most college students go cross-eyed)I learned not to flaunt my language because it made some people uncomfortable. Yes, they could learn the words by my using them, but they could also feel as if I were deliberately insulting them. So again, it’s a balancing act.
    Jane, totally agree. But it’s the literary fiction that’s accessible that’s most likely to do well, and their authors are likely to be insulted for doing so.
    IMO, it’s far better to have your prose read by multitudes than the intellectual few who already share your opinion and understand your theme. Rather like preaching to the choir, right?

    Reply
  98. y’all keep me grinning! Ejaculate, yes!! Apparently it’s not only my imagination that sinks to the lowest common denominator. “G”
    And Kalen, growing up as I did, I was frequently looked upon as strange because of the words that would pop out of my mouth that no one else (even the teachers) knew. Some of us are just highly verbal. (I will refrain from discussing my 6-year old granddaughter who has a vocabulary that would make most college students go cross-eyed)I learned not to flaunt my language because it made some people uncomfortable. Yes, they could learn the words by my using them, but they could also feel as if I were deliberately insulting them. So again, it’s a balancing act.
    Jane, totally agree. But it’s the literary fiction that’s accessible that’s most likely to do well, and their authors are likely to be insulted for doing so.
    IMO, it’s far better to have your prose read by multitudes than the intellectual few who already share your opinion and understand your theme. Rather like preaching to the choir, right?

    Reply
  99. y’all keep me grinning! Ejaculate, yes!! Apparently it’s not only my imagination that sinks to the lowest common denominator. “G”
    And Kalen, growing up as I did, I was frequently looked upon as strange because of the words that would pop out of my mouth that no one else (even the teachers) knew. Some of us are just highly verbal. (I will refrain from discussing my 6-year old granddaughter who has a vocabulary that would make most college students go cross-eyed)I learned not to flaunt my language because it made some people uncomfortable. Yes, they could learn the words by my using them, but they could also feel as if I were deliberately insulting them. So again, it’s a balancing act.
    Jane, totally agree. But it’s the literary fiction that’s accessible that’s most likely to do well, and their authors are likely to be insulted for doing so.
    IMO, it’s far better to have your prose read by multitudes than the intellectual few who already share your opinion and understand your theme. Rather like preaching to the choir, right?

    Reply
  100. y’all keep me grinning! Ejaculate, yes!! Apparently it’s not only my imagination that sinks to the lowest common denominator. “G”
    And Kalen, growing up as I did, I was frequently looked upon as strange because of the words that would pop out of my mouth that no one else (even the teachers) knew. Some of us are just highly verbal. (I will refrain from discussing my 6-year old granddaughter who has a vocabulary that would make most college students go cross-eyed)I learned not to flaunt my language because it made some people uncomfortable. Yes, they could learn the words by my using them, but they could also feel as if I were deliberately insulting them. So again, it’s a balancing act.
    Jane, totally agree. But it’s the literary fiction that’s accessible that’s most likely to do well, and their authors are likely to be insulted for doing so.
    IMO, it’s far better to have your prose read by multitudes than the intellectual few who already share your opinion and understand your theme. Rather like preaching to the choir, right?

    Reply
  101. Great post, Pat! I agree that it’s no easy matter to write lucid, accessible prose that also captures all the nuances we want. It’s a constant struggle, in fact. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; simple is often danged hard!
    Thanks also for mentioning John Moore’s wickedly funny, satirical fairy tales. He’s one of the most original–and accessible–fantasy writers to come along in years.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  102. Great post, Pat! I agree that it’s no easy matter to write lucid, accessible prose that also captures all the nuances we want. It’s a constant struggle, in fact. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; simple is often danged hard!
    Thanks also for mentioning John Moore’s wickedly funny, satirical fairy tales. He’s one of the most original–and accessible–fantasy writers to come along in years.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  103. Great post, Pat! I agree that it’s no easy matter to write lucid, accessible prose that also captures all the nuances we want. It’s a constant struggle, in fact. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; simple is often danged hard!
    Thanks also for mentioning John Moore’s wickedly funny, satirical fairy tales. He’s one of the most original–and accessible–fantasy writers to come along in years.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  104. Great post, Pat! I agree that it’s no easy matter to write lucid, accessible prose that also captures all the nuances we want. It’s a constant struggle, in fact. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; simple is often danged hard!
    Thanks also for mentioning John Moore’s wickedly funny, satirical fairy tales. He’s one of the most original–and accessible–fantasy writers to come along in years.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  105. Great post, Pat! I agree that it’s no easy matter to write lucid, accessible prose that also captures all the nuances we want. It’s a constant struggle, in fact. Simple isn’t necessarily easy; simple is often danged hard!
    Thanks also for mentioning John Moore’s wickedly funny, satirical fairy tales. He’s one of the most original–and accessible–fantasy writers to come along in years.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  106. Fascinating discussion. I’m one of those “if it works, use it,” sort of people. That said, I’m also cleaning up my own prose right now. Sometimes what seems brilliant and unique at 3am…not so much. Who called it her stupid time? 🙂

    Reply
  107. Fascinating discussion. I’m one of those “if it works, use it,” sort of people. That said, I’m also cleaning up my own prose right now. Sometimes what seems brilliant and unique at 3am…not so much. Who called it her stupid time? 🙂

    Reply
  108. Fascinating discussion. I’m one of those “if it works, use it,” sort of people. That said, I’m also cleaning up my own prose right now. Sometimes what seems brilliant and unique at 3am…not so much. Who called it her stupid time? 🙂

    Reply
  109. Fascinating discussion. I’m one of those “if it works, use it,” sort of people. That said, I’m also cleaning up my own prose right now. Sometimes what seems brilliant and unique at 3am…not so much. Who called it her stupid time? 🙂

    Reply
  110. Fascinating discussion. I’m one of those “if it works, use it,” sort of people. That said, I’m also cleaning up my own prose right now. Sometimes what seems brilliant and unique at 3am…not so much. Who called it her stupid time? 🙂

    Reply
  111. Well, I will unhesitatingly speak of a building as ‘a hideous (or handsome) erection’, or use ‘ejaculate’ as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, and heaven help anyone who sniggers. I would quell them with a Look. But then, I am a grumpy old Brit.
    Seriously, most words worth their salt have a range of definitions and nuances, and to reject a couple of perfectly normal and useful words simply because they have sexual meanings, amongst others, seems to me to betray a rather feeble – indeed, an utterly flaccid – attitude towards the use of language.
    🙂

    Reply
  112. Well, I will unhesitatingly speak of a building as ‘a hideous (or handsome) erection’, or use ‘ejaculate’ as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, and heaven help anyone who sniggers. I would quell them with a Look. But then, I am a grumpy old Brit.
    Seriously, most words worth their salt have a range of definitions and nuances, and to reject a couple of perfectly normal and useful words simply because they have sexual meanings, amongst others, seems to me to betray a rather feeble – indeed, an utterly flaccid – attitude towards the use of language.
    🙂

    Reply
  113. Well, I will unhesitatingly speak of a building as ‘a hideous (or handsome) erection’, or use ‘ejaculate’ as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, and heaven help anyone who sniggers. I would quell them with a Look. But then, I am a grumpy old Brit.
    Seriously, most words worth their salt have a range of definitions and nuances, and to reject a couple of perfectly normal and useful words simply because they have sexual meanings, amongst others, seems to me to betray a rather feeble – indeed, an utterly flaccid – attitude towards the use of language.
    🙂

    Reply
  114. Well, I will unhesitatingly speak of a building as ‘a hideous (or handsome) erection’, or use ‘ejaculate’ as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, and heaven help anyone who sniggers. I would quell them with a Look. But then, I am a grumpy old Brit.
    Seriously, most words worth their salt have a range of definitions and nuances, and to reject a couple of perfectly normal and useful words simply because they have sexual meanings, amongst others, seems to me to betray a rather feeble – indeed, an utterly flaccid – attitude towards the use of language.
    🙂

    Reply
  115. Well, I will unhesitatingly speak of a building as ‘a hideous (or handsome) erection’, or use ‘ejaculate’ as a synonym for ‘exclaim’, and heaven help anyone who sniggers. I would quell them with a Look. But then, I am a grumpy old Brit.
    Seriously, most words worth their salt have a range of definitions and nuances, and to reject a couple of perfectly normal and useful words simply because they have sexual meanings, amongst others, seems to me to betray a rather feeble – indeed, an utterly flaccid – attitude towards the use of language.
    🙂

    Reply
  116. I do try and keep the SAT words (as my best friend calls them) to a minimum, but sometimes I think those of us who are highly verbal just don’t grok (to use a term from sci-fi) that our word choices are strange or sound “high falutin” until someone points it out to us (as my best friend likes to do; “Ok, SAT-girl.” is a favorite phrase of hers). I use her as my gauge. If Kristie quirks a brow or makes a face, I know my word choice is probably too obscure (not that she’s dumb or anything—by no means!—she’s just more of a math person).
    And I wana go have tea with AgTigress!!!

    Reply
  117. I do try and keep the SAT words (as my best friend calls them) to a minimum, but sometimes I think those of us who are highly verbal just don’t grok (to use a term from sci-fi) that our word choices are strange or sound “high falutin” until someone points it out to us (as my best friend likes to do; “Ok, SAT-girl.” is a favorite phrase of hers). I use her as my gauge. If Kristie quirks a brow or makes a face, I know my word choice is probably too obscure (not that she’s dumb or anything—by no means!—she’s just more of a math person).
    And I wana go have tea with AgTigress!!!

    Reply
  118. I do try and keep the SAT words (as my best friend calls them) to a minimum, but sometimes I think those of us who are highly verbal just don’t grok (to use a term from sci-fi) that our word choices are strange or sound “high falutin” until someone points it out to us (as my best friend likes to do; “Ok, SAT-girl.” is a favorite phrase of hers). I use her as my gauge. If Kristie quirks a brow or makes a face, I know my word choice is probably too obscure (not that she’s dumb or anything—by no means!—she’s just more of a math person).
    And I wana go have tea with AgTigress!!!

    Reply
  119. I do try and keep the SAT words (as my best friend calls them) to a minimum, but sometimes I think those of us who are highly verbal just don’t grok (to use a term from sci-fi) that our word choices are strange or sound “high falutin” until someone points it out to us (as my best friend likes to do; “Ok, SAT-girl.” is a favorite phrase of hers). I use her as my gauge. If Kristie quirks a brow or makes a face, I know my word choice is probably too obscure (not that she’s dumb or anything—by no means!—she’s just more of a math person).
    And I wana go have tea with AgTigress!!!

    Reply
  120. I do try and keep the SAT words (as my best friend calls them) to a minimum, but sometimes I think those of us who are highly verbal just don’t grok (to use a term from sci-fi) that our word choices are strange or sound “high falutin” until someone points it out to us (as my best friend likes to do; “Ok, SAT-girl.” is a favorite phrase of hers). I use her as my gauge. If Kristie quirks a brow or makes a face, I know my word choice is probably too obscure (not that she’s dumb or anything—by no means!—she’s just more of a math person).
    And I wana go have tea with AgTigress!!!

    Reply
  121. LOL! I agree, Kalen. Anyone who can wield erection, ejaculation, and flaccid with primness and humor gets my vote as queen of the tea table.
    Stupid time! Yes, when all those brilliant constructions just pour from our fingers–only to be whacked when reality returns. Although one wonders if Jabberwocky might have been written in just such a creative stupor…

    Reply
  122. LOL! I agree, Kalen. Anyone who can wield erection, ejaculation, and flaccid with primness and humor gets my vote as queen of the tea table.
    Stupid time! Yes, when all those brilliant constructions just pour from our fingers–only to be whacked when reality returns. Although one wonders if Jabberwocky might have been written in just such a creative stupor…

    Reply
  123. LOL! I agree, Kalen. Anyone who can wield erection, ejaculation, and flaccid with primness and humor gets my vote as queen of the tea table.
    Stupid time! Yes, when all those brilliant constructions just pour from our fingers–only to be whacked when reality returns. Although one wonders if Jabberwocky might have been written in just such a creative stupor…

    Reply
  124. LOL! I agree, Kalen. Anyone who can wield erection, ejaculation, and flaccid with primness and humor gets my vote as queen of the tea table.
    Stupid time! Yes, when all those brilliant constructions just pour from our fingers–only to be whacked when reality returns. Although one wonders if Jabberwocky might have been written in just such a creative stupor…

    Reply
  125. LOL! I agree, Kalen. Anyone who can wield erection, ejaculation, and flaccid with primness and humor gets my vote as queen of the tea table.
    Stupid time! Yes, when all those brilliant constructions just pour from our fingers–only to be whacked when reality returns. Although one wonders if Jabberwocky might have been written in just such a creative stupor…

    Reply
  126. Ha! You guys are too funny!
    I LOVE Jabberwocky….I think he might have been just a trifle disguised…and sitting out in the sun at the time…
    And yes -I use all of those much-maligned words…admittedly less often than previously.
    Actually – I find I have to watch that what I’m currently reading doesn’t unduly influence my spoken language…when I’m on a roll in a lecture, speaking of ‘desire’ or ‘passion’, even in an appropriate context such as the topic of motivation, garners some arrested looks from my students.
    (Does get their attention, though – a primary goal for a 3+ hour evening lecture….)

    Reply
  127. Ha! You guys are too funny!
    I LOVE Jabberwocky….I think he might have been just a trifle disguised…and sitting out in the sun at the time…
    And yes -I use all of those much-maligned words…admittedly less often than previously.
    Actually – I find I have to watch that what I’m currently reading doesn’t unduly influence my spoken language…when I’m on a roll in a lecture, speaking of ‘desire’ or ‘passion’, even in an appropriate context such as the topic of motivation, garners some arrested looks from my students.
    (Does get their attention, though – a primary goal for a 3+ hour evening lecture….)

    Reply
  128. Ha! You guys are too funny!
    I LOVE Jabberwocky….I think he might have been just a trifle disguised…and sitting out in the sun at the time…
    And yes -I use all of those much-maligned words…admittedly less often than previously.
    Actually – I find I have to watch that what I’m currently reading doesn’t unduly influence my spoken language…when I’m on a roll in a lecture, speaking of ‘desire’ or ‘passion’, even in an appropriate context such as the topic of motivation, garners some arrested looks from my students.
    (Does get their attention, though – a primary goal for a 3+ hour evening lecture….)

    Reply
  129. Ha! You guys are too funny!
    I LOVE Jabberwocky….I think he might have been just a trifle disguised…and sitting out in the sun at the time…
    And yes -I use all of those much-maligned words…admittedly less often than previously.
    Actually – I find I have to watch that what I’m currently reading doesn’t unduly influence my spoken language…when I’m on a roll in a lecture, speaking of ‘desire’ or ‘passion’, even in an appropriate context such as the topic of motivation, garners some arrested looks from my students.
    (Does get their attention, though – a primary goal for a 3+ hour evening lecture….)

    Reply
  130. Ha! You guys are too funny!
    I LOVE Jabberwocky….I think he might have been just a trifle disguised…and sitting out in the sun at the time…
    And yes -I use all of those much-maligned words…admittedly less often than previously.
    Actually – I find I have to watch that what I’m currently reading doesn’t unduly influence my spoken language…when I’m on a roll in a lecture, speaking of ‘desire’ or ‘passion’, even in an appropriate context such as the topic of motivation, garners some arrested looks from my students.
    (Does get their attention, though – a primary goal for a 3+ hour evening lecture….)

    Reply
  131. The “dumbing down” of fiction has less to do with prose than with story quality. It’s dumbed down when I read the same type of plot with the same type of characters with the same type of prose and watch it soar onto the lists because TPTB have declared that current readers have a short attention span. The hype around Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, or the popularity of Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose really, really contest that assumption.
    Not that I’m saying all novels need to be 400+ pages, but the page constraints seem to go hand in hand with hackneyed plots and characters as well as tepid prose and vaguely-sketched settings. WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  132. The “dumbing down” of fiction has less to do with prose than with story quality. It’s dumbed down when I read the same type of plot with the same type of characters with the same type of prose and watch it soar onto the lists because TPTB have declared that current readers have a short attention span. The hype around Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, or the popularity of Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose really, really contest that assumption.
    Not that I’m saying all novels need to be 400+ pages, but the page constraints seem to go hand in hand with hackneyed plots and characters as well as tepid prose and vaguely-sketched settings. WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  133. The “dumbing down” of fiction has less to do with prose than with story quality. It’s dumbed down when I read the same type of plot with the same type of characters with the same type of prose and watch it soar onto the lists because TPTB have declared that current readers have a short attention span. The hype around Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, or the popularity of Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose really, really contest that assumption.
    Not that I’m saying all novels need to be 400+ pages, but the page constraints seem to go hand in hand with hackneyed plots and characters as well as tepid prose and vaguely-sketched settings. WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  134. The “dumbing down” of fiction has less to do with prose than with story quality. It’s dumbed down when I read the same type of plot with the same type of characters with the same type of prose and watch it soar onto the lists because TPTB have declared that current readers have a short attention span. The hype around Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, or the popularity of Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose really, really contest that assumption.
    Not that I’m saying all novels need to be 400+ pages, but the page constraints seem to go hand in hand with hackneyed plots and characters as well as tepid prose and vaguely-sketched settings. WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  135. The “dumbing down” of fiction has less to do with prose than with story quality. It’s dumbed down when I read the same type of plot with the same type of characters with the same type of prose and watch it soar onto the lists because TPTB have declared that current readers have a short attention span. The hype around Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, or the popularity of Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose really, really contest that assumption.
    Not that I’m saying all novels need to be 400+ pages, but the page constraints seem to go hand in hand with hackneyed plots and characters as well as tepid prose and vaguely-sketched settings. WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  136. That should read: WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt into 320 pages without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  137. That should read: WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt into 320 pages without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  138. That should read: WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt into 320 pages without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  139. That should read: WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt into 320 pages without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  140. That should read: WW Loretta Chase was able to “cram” the colorful world of early-nineteenth century Egypt into 320 pages without sacrificing well-drawn characters and gorgeous romance, so the argument about page count doesn’t hold for me.

    Reply
  141. Interesting that most people seem to equate “literary” with “wordy, using complicated words and describtions” (or did I get it wrong?). The way i learned it (PdD in German lit) is that the less wordy you are the better the book. In fact, one point of critique towards popular fiction is that it is too wordy, too descriptive! Maybe German literature is different?? I don’t know. I love all kinds of books, and I think there’s a place for both entertainment and art out there. In very happy cases, those two go together, too.
    Generally speaking, I wish romances were more complex. I esp. dislike shortcuts. Such as character A cheats on his wife, so bingo! he is a cheat in everything else and a villain to boot. Or the heroine is a blushing virgin so she is a good woman and will be a fantastic mother. So instead of developing an interesting character, we get a cliche and I deeply resent that. (okay, and I am off my soapbox now….)

    Reply
  142. Interesting that most people seem to equate “literary” with “wordy, using complicated words and describtions” (or did I get it wrong?). The way i learned it (PdD in German lit) is that the less wordy you are the better the book. In fact, one point of critique towards popular fiction is that it is too wordy, too descriptive! Maybe German literature is different?? I don’t know. I love all kinds of books, and I think there’s a place for both entertainment and art out there. In very happy cases, those two go together, too.
    Generally speaking, I wish romances were more complex. I esp. dislike shortcuts. Such as character A cheats on his wife, so bingo! he is a cheat in everything else and a villain to boot. Or the heroine is a blushing virgin so she is a good woman and will be a fantastic mother. So instead of developing an interesting character, we get a cliche and I deeply resent that. (okay, and I am off my soapbox now….)

    Reply
  143. Interesting that most people seem to equate “literary” with “wordy, using complicated words and describtions” (or did I get it wrong?). The way i learned it (PdD in German lit) is that the less wordy you are the better the book. In fact, one point of critique towards popular fiction is that it is too wordy, too descriptive! Maybe German literature is different?? I don’t know. I love all kinds of books, and I think there’s a place for both entertainment and art out there. In very happy cases, those two go together, too.
    Generally speaking, I wish romances were more complex. I esp. dislike shortcuts. Such as character A cheats on his wife, so bingo! he is a cheat in everything else and a villain to boot. Or the heroine is a blushing virgin so she is a good woman and will be a fantastic mother. So instead of developing an interesting character, we get a cliche and I deeply resent that. (okay, and I am off my soapbox now….)

    Reply
  144. Interesting that most people seem to equate “literary” with “wordy, using complicated words and describtions” (or did I get it wrong?). The way i learned it (PdD in German lit) is that the less wordy you are the better the book. In fact, one point of critique towards popular fiction is that it is too wordy, too descriptive! Maybe German literature is different?? I don’t know. I love all kinds of books, and I think there’s a place for both entertainment and art out there. In very happy cases, those two go together, too.
    Generally speaking, I wish romances were more complex. I esp. dislike shortcuts. Such as character A cheats on his wife, so bingo! he is a cheat in everything else and a villain to boot. Or the heroine is a blushing virgin so she is a good woman and will be a fantastic mother. So instead of developing an interesting character, we get a cliche and I deeply resent that. (okay, and I am off my soapbox now….)

    Reply
  145. Interesting that most people seem to equate “literary” with “wordy, using complicated words and describtions” (or did I get it wrong?). The way i learned it (PdD in German lit) is that the less wordy you are the better the book. In fact, one point of critique towards popular fiction is that it is too wordy, too descriptive! Maybe German literature is different?? I don’t know. I love all kinds of books, and I think there’s a place for both entertainment and art out there. In very happy cases, those two go together, too.
    Generally speaking, I wish romances were more complex. I esp. dislike shortcuts. Such as character A cheats on his wife, so bingo! he is a cheat in everything else and a villain to boot. Or the heroine is a blushing virgin so she is a good woman and will be a fantastic mother. So instead of developing an interesting character, we get a cliche and I deeply resent that. (okay, and I am off my soapbox now….)

    Reply
  146. Another genre entirely but a good example of someone who used sophisticated words and concepts while speaking clearly, directly, and powerfully to multiple constituencies–Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He used a lot of SAT words–whether talking to “ordinary folk” in the pew or to statesmen and everything in between. Anyone who thinks speechmakers need to “dumb down” or speak to the lowest common denominator should read his speeches/sermons–they send shivers down my spine.
    He was a master wordsmith and could marry sophistication and simplicity in a way that was almost magical.

    Reply
  147. Another genre entirely but a good example of someone who used sophisticated words and concepts while speaking clearly, directly, and powerfully to multiple constituencies–Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He used a lot of SAT words–whether talking to “ordinary folk” in the pew or to statesmen and everything in between. Anyone who thinks speechmakers need to “dumb down” or speak to the lowest common denominator should read his speeches/sermons–they send shivers down my spine.
    He was a master wordsmith and could marry sophistication and simplicity in a way that was almost magical.

    Reply
  148. Another genre entirely but a good example of someone who used sophisticated words and concepts while speaking clearly, directly, and powerfully to multiple constituencies–Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He used a lot of SAT words–whether talking to “ordinary folk” in the pew or to statesmen and everything in between. Anyone who thinks speechmakers need to “dumb down” or speak to the lowest common denominator should read his speeches/sermons–they send shivers down my spine.
    He was a master wordsmith and could marry sophistication and simplicity in a way that was almost magical.

    Reply
  149. Another genre entirely but a good example of someone who used sophisticated words and concepts while speaking clearly, directly, and powerfully to multiple constituencies–Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He used a lot of SAT words–whether talking to “ordinary folk” in the pew or to statesmen and everything in between. Anyone who thinks speechmakers need to “dumb down” or speak to the lowest common denominator should read his speeches/sermons–they send shivers down my spine.
    He was a master wordsmith and could marry sophistication and simplicity in a way that was almost magical.

    Reply
  150. Another genre entirely but a good example of someone who used sophisticated words and concepts while speaking clearly, directly, and powerfully to multiple constituencies–Martin Luther King, Jr.
    He used a lot of SAT words–whether talking to “ordinary folk” in the pew or to statesmen and everything in between. Anyone who thinks speechmakers need to “dumb down” or speak to the lowest common denominator should read his speeches/sermons–they send shivers down my spine.
    He was a master wordsmith and could marry sophistication and simplicity in a way that was almost magical.

    Reply
  151. Oh, my! So many fascinating topics to discuss that my head spins. If I could hold it down long enough to remember to make note of these topics, I’d have another blog or two.
    I can’t comment on German literature, although I think here description is more a matter of author “voice” than genre. I think theme may delineate literary from genre more than anything, since genre is limited by reader expectation and literary writing can go in any direction it likes. Romance themes (or maybe there’s a better word but my brain is tired) need to revolve around love and family, while literary fiction could scoff at such a them and embrace it at the same time.
    As to dumbing down of plot…That is definitely an entire blog, and not one that I’m confident I could take on. I reject books with no unique features to them, so I assume I’m not reading most of the ones that Angela complains about.
    As to why people buy the same old, same old over and over…the comfort of familiarity is my best guess. Anyone remember that creaking old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary where they sing the song from different musical genres? Kids liked the comfort of repetition if I remember correctly…

    Reply
  152. Oh, my! So many fascinating topics to discuss that my head spins. If I could hold it down long enough to remember to make note of these topics, I’d have another blog or two.
    I can’t comment on German literature, although I think here description is more a matter of author “voice” than genre. I think theme may delineate literary from genre more than anything, since genre is limited by reader expectation and literary writing can go in any direction it likes. Romance themes (or maybe there’s a better word but my brain is tired) need to revolve around love and family, while literary fiction could scoff at such a them and embrace it at the same time.
    As to dumbing down of plot…That is definitely an entire blog, and not one that I’m confident I could take on. I reject books with no unique features to them, so I assume I’m not reading most of the ones that Angela complains about.
    As to why people buy the same old, same old over and over…the comfort of familiarity is my best guess. Anyone remember that creaking old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary where they sing the song from different musical genres? Kids liked the comfort of repetition if I remember correctly…

    Reply
  153. Oh, my! So many fascinating topics to discuss that my head spins. If I could hold it down long enough to remember to make note of these topics, I’d have another blog or two.
    I can’t comment on German literature, although I think here description is more a matter of author “voice” than genre. I think theme may delineate literary from genre more than anything, since genre is limited by reader expectation and literary writing can go in any direction it likes. Romance themes (or maybe there’s a better word but my brain is tired) need to revolve around love and family, while literary fiction could scoff at such a them and embrace it at the same time.
    As to dumbing down of plot…That is definitely an entire blog, and not one that I’m confident I could take on. I reject books with no unique features to them, so I assume I’m not reading most of the ones that Angela complains about.
    As to why people buy the same old, same old over and over…the comfort of familiarity is my best guess. Anyone remember that creaking old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary where they sing the song from different musical genres? Kids liked the comfort of repetition if I remember correctly…

    Reply
  154. Oh, my! So many fascinating topics to discuss that my head spins. If I could hold it down long enough to remember to make note of these topics, I’d have another blog or two.
    I can’t comment on German literature, although I think here description is more a matter of author “voice” than genre. I think theme may delineate literary from genre more than anything, since genre is limited by reader expectation and literary writing can go in any direction it likes. Romance themes (or maybe there’s a better word but my brain is tired) need to revolve around love and family, while literary fiction could scoff at such a them and embrace it at the same time.
    As to dumbing down of plot…That is definitely an entire blog, and not one that I’m confident I could take on. I reject books with no unique features to them, so I assume I’m not reading most of the ones that Angela complains about.
    As to why people buy the same old, same old over and over…the comfort of familiarity is my best guess. Anyone remember that creaking old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary where they sing the song from different musical genres? Kids liked the comfort of repetition if I remember correctly…

    Reply
  155. Oh, my! So many fascinating topics to discuss that my head spins. If I could hold it down long enough to remember to make note of these topics, I’d have another blog or two.
    I can’t comment on German literature, although I think here description is more a matter of author “voice” than genre. I think theme may delineate literary from genre more than anything, since genre is limited by reader expectation and literary writing can go in any direction it likes. Romance themes (or maybe there’s a better word but my brain is tired) need to revolve around love and family, while literary fiction could scoff at such a them and embrace it at the same time.
    As to dumbing down of plot…That is definitely an entire blog, and not one that I’m confident I could take on. I reject books with no unique features to them, so I assume I’m not reading most of the ones that Angela complains about.
    As to why people buy the same old, same old over and over…the comfort of familiarity is my best guess. Anyone remember that creaking old folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary where they sing the song from different musical genres? Kids liked the comfort of repetition if I remember correctly…

    Reply

Leave a Comment