“Write like you talk”
I personally haven’t received this one very much in my life. Which I am glad of. Because if someone told me this, I might just punch them in the proverbial teeth.
This advice, while possibly a good idea when it comes to dialogue, is nothing short of a disaster when it comes to descriptions or the rest of the book. While one shouldn’t open a thesaurus and start using ginormous, multisyllabic words no one has ever heard of, we should seek to elevate our language. The average American has a working vocabulary of 3,000 words. Shakespeare had 54,000 words.
Let that sink in a moment.
Now, to clarify, a working vocabulary by definition is the words that we use on a regular basis in our daily lives. Me might know more than 3,000 and in fact, the average study says we actually know 15,000. But we don’t use all of those on a daily basis.
And to further clarify, I am not saying our books should read like Shakespeare. But to be honest, we should be constantly seeking to better ourselves in this area. Books would be incredibly boring if we used the same 3,000 words to describe in our books and stories? I rarely say in passing while telling a story that someone dashed, tiptoed, or marched. I always say “walked”. How boring is that? Not to mention, the common American language is punctuated with ‘ums’ pauses and other superfluous words such as “like,’ “you know’ etc.
I don’t want that in my books, thank you very much. Nor would or do I read ones that read like this. They bore me. Give me a nice, meaty, juicy novel with descriptions and even a new word or two and I will love you forever.
We have many beautiful words in our English language. There is a reason they all exist. Let’s use them.
What do you think about this piece of writing advice?
By God’s Grace,