Let’s Say in Ten Words What Could Be Said in Three

White Chocolate

White Chocolate
This may seem somewhat off-topic, but I have to say that Aldi’s white chocolate — Choceur brand — is almost to die for. For those of you who don’t know, Aldi is a discount supermarket. I promise I’ll get to the point of this post shortly. Now, if my brother was here he’d be telling you that white chocolate is not chocolate. Technically he’s right, and if I were to talk about an off-white, creamy confectionery that melts in your mouth, you’d probably know what I was talking about … but ‘white chocolate’ is easier and instantly recognisable.

Sometimes it’s better to describe something in the least number of words, which I quite often have difficulty with. The unofficial motto of my family is something along the lines of, we don’t say in three words what can be said in ten.

Can you imagine how often it comes across that we’re lecturing, or someone outside our family paraphrases what one of us has just said, in the three words we should have used in the first place? It happens a lot. How hard is it to change? Very!

Now that leads to another question. Is it always a bad thing? I believe the answer to that can be summed up in a single word — no. Did you see what I did there? Instead of simply saying No, I padded my response with an extra fourteen words! Seriously though, if you’re going to write fiction there are times when you need to be descriptive. Which of these sounds better?

  1. I could hear the sounds of a fight. They were frightening.
  2. In the distance I could hear the sounds of a ferocious fight. The snarling and growling, interspersed with yowls of pain, echoed throughout the forest. I’d never heard sounds like that before. They were frightening.

However, when you’re writing a book blurb, or have a character limit — perhaps for a short title — you need to be able to tighten up your text. Usually I’ll just start off the way I always do, and write whatever comes into my head. From there I try to prune anything that isn’t necessary. Sometimes I can do it, no problems. Other times I labour over it and feel that I’d rather cut off my arm than have to prune or reword one more time! When that happens I’ll ask others to provide me with some feedback. Sometimes all you need is to see it from another person’s perspective.

Do you also suffer from long-wordedness? (Did I just invent a new word? I like it much better than plain, old wordiness.) If you do, please let me know how you deal with it, or if people have commented on your ‘affliction’. Does it make you self-conscious of speaking in groups of strangers, or do you think, ‘who cares, it’s their problem, not mine’?


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