The Prosaic Form Cannot Communicate My Meaning

HERE IS the thing about some of my favourite books, like The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and Dracula by Bram Stoker—all three of these novels feature something quite heavily: descriptive detail. These are the types of novels I love to read. Rich and elucidative texts make my mouth water. Novels over 400 pages or more are not daunting to me—they are enticing.

Now, I realize some people like a quick read and do not need or want to learn the colour, texture or significance of something. That’s fine. Me? I have always been fascinated by words and sentences and love to delve further into a scene. I want to know more than just that a person puts on her shoes and leaves. I’m the kind of reader who is naturally curious about the designer of those shoes and their colour. Does her destination or time frame influence how she exits the room/house/store etc.? Would she be leaving in haste, her thick, auburn hair flowing wildly behind her as she departs? Or is she sauntering lazily out of the house because that is how she carries herself even when no one is looking? To me, these little details create a far more vivid scene and characterization, enriching my reading experience.

It can be a thin line between long-winded, run-on sentences and descriptive text. Any writer looking to produce their best work needs to be able to spot the difference when writing. If I see something in my own work that feels off, unnecessarily wordy or could impede the flow of my reader’s enjoyment or understanding, I rework the heck out of that sentence. A good editor, human and computer program, will also aid a writer in carefully selecting which sentences feel lush and illustrative and which feel clunky and overwritten.

Again, there are those firmly in the camp that simplicity is preferable to what I have heard described as “flowery language.” Some feel that adverbs are unnecessary and outdated and adjectives are overused. And yes, I am aware of the argument that substituting elaborate words for simple ones is absurd because sometimes a person “says it,” and they do not “boldly elucidate it.” Well, why can’t it be either without judgment? When it comes to text, one person’s “dense” is another’s “lush.” No two readers see or appreciate a work the same way.

With Vindictive and Vindictive Too, I hope I have produced a descriptively rich text that evokes poignant imagery as one reads through the story. I am not against a well-placed adverb or a confident adjective; I am very open about this. I live for a sentence that tells a little story within the larger story. It is all about control and knowing when to reign it in to avoid excessive verbiage and potentially confusing phrasing. Ultimately, I write what I would read, what attracts me as a reader, and I hope it shows and resonates with people.


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