It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Today, I’m going to mull on the words the writers use in their stories. The issue of fiction vocabulary is hotly debated. One side postulates that writers should use simple vocabulary, all their words short and familiar to anyone with elementary school education. 1000 most common words, they say, no more. A couple months ago, Medium published an article about the benefits of such an approach.
The proponents of the opposite faction argue that we, writers, should be educators. We should use words the readers don’t know, long and unusual words, incorporating as wide a vocabulary as possible to try and raise the erudition level of our readers? I’m firmly with this party, both as a reader and as a writer. I don’t think writers should stoop to the level of a preschooler in their writing. Shakespeare was of the same opinion; he even invented new words, when no existing ones satisfied him. Personally, I love encountering words I don’t know. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I savor the experience. I reach for a dictionary. I open a thesaurus. I love word play.
What do you think? Where do you stand in this dispute?