Yes, I'm putting a price on my stories. No more free fiction.
Are you getting ready to flame me? Okay, okay, I'm not going to stop posting free stuff.
However, I did want to share some thoughts I recently had on 'fifty cent' words and their place in fiction. These so called fifty cent words are the ones that catch your eye, the big words full of rich meaning in the English language (or whatever the author writes in).
So many times I see a story littered with them, every sentence structured to feature the words that jump out at you, sometimes even hosting two or three of them! I guess to some, that's a good thing. They like to use those fifty cent words, thinking that increases the worth of their story. This is especially true in the area of speech tags, something I strive to avoid using as much as possible.
For example: "Oh, how spectacular," she exclaimed fervently, enthralled by the landscape when she beheld the vermillion flowers carpeting the verdant meadow.
Now, my writing is all about entertainment. I'm after the picture, not the words.
I'm not trying to enlighten anyone, I'm trying to entertain. For my writing, bigger is not better. I made those mistakes at first, throwing out the unusual words that had great meaning, but became annoying and difficult to wade through for the average reader. Sure, there was little confusion for those of us who grew up reading the dictionary for fun, but for the other 99% it wasn't nearly as enjoyable. (Yes, self-confessed geek here, lol)
When writing, I've come to a realization that my whole goal is to make the words as invisible as possible. That means using simple phrases and key words to create vivid images in the reader's mind, the 'nickel words' of the fiction world you might call them. I don't want my writing to get in the way of my story, so I try to streamline everything.
Or you could just call me cheap!
For example: "Oh!" Her bright smile lit up her eyes. Her hand gripped his hard as she stared, taking in the ruby red flowers carpeting the lush meadow.
My own choice of words would be simpler but a bit more visceral. I use the word ruby to evoke a rich red color that just about everyone knows, and since most people already think of meadows as green, I used lush. It works since we usually relate the word to something really rich. I avoid the speech tag and instead show her reaction with visual cues, so the reader can see how she feels and, therefore, get a better 'picture' than if I just said she's excited.
Now, I'm not saying using big words is wrong all the time, or that they can't enhance a story. Sometimes you will have a discussion between two doctors, for example, and they'd logically use more technical words than the average person - depending on the discussion. A story set back in the Victorian era would also be more adaptable to a flowery turn of phrase.
But for regular old entertaining stories, the kind I really enjoy presenting to my readers, I think I'll stick to my trusty nickel words!