Posted in On Writing

Don’t Be Smart

RIP vocabulary

I was recently going through the NaNo Forums and came across a thread on Horrible Writing Tips. In this thread, wrimos can share all the bad writing tips they’ve been given.

Some of bad tips can be twisted into a good light but other tips are not twistable. One of these tips which makes me cringe is “make sure the story is really simple” or “don’t use big words“.

It’s true that no one wants to have a dictionary beside them as they are reading; however, I should not have to bring my writing down to a less intelligent level. As a writer, I try to bring the reader up to my level.

If I write well, the reader should be able to understand a new word from the rest of the sentence. I want readers to extrapolate the meaning of a word so that they grow as a reader. I like challenging readers to learn new words and ideas.

That’s not to say that I purposely choose obscure words that no one will understand. I use words in my writing that I use in my everyday language. For me to use simplistic words, I would have to change who I am. I do not apologize for my vocabulary nor will I apologize for using my vocabulary.


Please note that I tailor my writing to my intended audience. I use more simple words for younger audiences and more complex words for audiences older than fourteen years of age.

As well, for anyone wishing to build their vocabulary, I highly suggest trying word of the day anything. There are websites, apps, calendars, and so much more.