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Keeping things simple in writing

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A few different things made me feel obligated to at some point talk about simplicity in writing on my blog: the works of the great mister John Steinbeck (please excuse my bias this man is an incredible writer and his books are beautifully written), The random important bits and pieces of good insights I came across when I flipped through Alice LaPlante's "The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide To Creative Writing", and the Billy Childish poetry anthology I recently started reading. I found it extremely refreshing to see that a creative writing guide that happens to be yet another anthology associated with the super prestige Norton group advocated for simplicity. In fact it made that point by using a quote by a writer I admire, Anton Chekhov (which is obviously translated since all his work was originally written in Russian):
It is intelligible when I write, "the man sat down on the grass"; It is intelligible because it is clear and does not impede the reader's attention. Conversely, I will be unintelligible and tax the reader's brain if I write "the tall,narrow-chested man of average build, who had a short, red beard, sat down on the green grass, already trampled by passersby;sat down noiselessly, timidly and fearfully glancing around him." One's brain cannot grasp this at once, yet fiction must be grasped at once, on the spot. (LaPlante, Alice, The Making of a story, p.g. 37)
LaPlante calls this "the writerly voice" I call this keeping it simple, being honest with your words, and not distracting the reader from the story with language that is unnecessarily flowery. Honestly, the point I wanted to get at was an opinion: there's nothing worse than someone who writes something and thinks that, because they are writing something they have to use pretty, elegant, fancy language and tries too hard to make what they are written into an elegant,beautiful work of art because if they think that is what they should go for they are looking at the world "through rose colored glasses" for a lack of a better word. Keep it natural,keep it simple, keep it coherent, keep it humane, and leave out the stuff that limits what you have written to anyone else. I always try my hardest to abide by that philosophy and I hate using allusions and elegant language because it makes me feel pompous and full of myself and there's nothing worse than limiting a story to only those who know the words and get the references. This is just my own personal opinion, honestly that works for some writers in some circumstances and for those who are those kinds of writers, so be it, that's your voice.I aim to tell a story and make it something you don't really have to dig too much to find meaning and make it about nothing but what is on the surface except the story itself. I only used an allusion in one story I ever wrote and I ended up regretting it because it meant that people who didn't already know the meaning had to dig a little bit deeper before they can fully comprehend the story. My philosophy: tell the story so that people can immediately see the story for what it really is. If I am ever successful at going from emerging to published I would hate to see that day where some literature class sits around trying to deconstruct the story for some deeper, hidden meaning because there isn't one in fact its about nothing but the surface reality. The stories that I read do that too and where my inspirations and teachers that were a massive contribution to what my made my stories what they are today and nothing bugs me more then those that use language as a tool to show off their intelligence. It is valuable tool and we are all so lucky to have it and I sure feel thankful to have that at my disposal so it deserves to be put to good use rather than a tool for selfish gain.
I just wanted to take a moment to express my genuine problem with those that feel that storytelling has to always be about beauty and elegance because stories aren't always beautiful. That's what made me almost lose hope in poetry: a medium that I have always had respect for, I had enough with writing poetically because I felt like I was becoming nothing but a person setting out to write elegantly and I found that the last thing I cared about was if it rhymed or the nature of the piece's rhythm. I read poetry and respect it for what it is but there was a part of me that got sick of writing it because of all the assumptions that any reader of it made. Sometimes there's a loose rhythm that happens but all I really care about when I write it is telling the story. When I tell people I write and someone says "are you a poet" I will never say yes because what seems to be more important is telling a story.


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