Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Do you KISS? (A to Z = K)


No. Not that kind of kiss. I mean KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.

I'm talking about the length of your sentences, complex words a reader may not understand, and names they can not pronounce.

Are your sentences regularly more than 25 words in length? Do you have characters called Xynziongt and Fltinhogz? Do you use words most readers would need to reach for the dictionary in order to understand? Do you like to use your fiction to let readers know you have a doctorate in mathematical theorem? If you are, you could be turning them away.

When I read science fiction, any fiction in fact, I want to be entertained. Off course I want to be thrilled with exciting new concepts and challenged by ideas that make me think, but I don't want it to be hard work. Long sentences, complex words, and unpronounceable names are hard work. They slow me down. Turn me off. Don't do the same in your writing. Remember to KISS.

Are there any writing acronyms you use?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

37 comments:

  1. Ellie,

    Great point. It's definitely something I have to be aware of as I'm prone to nesting subordinate clauses within subordinate clauses. But I'm now tempted to write a story about Xynziongt and Fltinhogz! Probably a doomed inter-species love story.

    For the record, I do like Kiss the band too. Music's a bit soft but gotta love the theatrics.

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  2. I am trying to use the KISS, formula. Sometimes I have a tendency to use big words or strange words, but nowadays I avoid all that.

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  3. I love the saying, KISS. I first heard it in business class (believe it or not), but now I hear it everywhere... it's the perfect one to write by.

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  4. Wonderful write and interesting to read. I wrote of a different Kiss, gues we're all kissing one way or another today.

    Yvonne.

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  5. All I could think about now was the time I had a back stage pass for a kiss concert, and how I treasured Gene Simmons stage make-up filled towel for a long time :)

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  6. Good advice, Ellie, as usual:-)

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  7. Hi Ellie,

    Thats a great point. I hate reading books where the characters are supposed to be just like you and me and they use words that are not part of anybodies language apart from an Oxford Don's.

    It is a complete turn off. I also find large paragraphs of description a massive turn off. If they aren't integral to the story line dump it!

    My old English teacher used to say get a red pen and cross through the passage that you loe the most as you can bet that's when your reader fell asleep! Harsh but probably true!

    Excellent post

    Rach xx

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  8. That should have said LOVE the most.

    Sorry too many painkillers in the system! LOL

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  9. Great advice! I try to keep it simple, but sometimes I wonder if it's too simple at times. Gotta find that balance...

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  10. Very difficult for me this KISS business :) I'm so complicated and convoluted and...well, you get the idea. Great post and happy A-Z

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  11. Oh, it has to be K.I.S.S. (and I love the band, too!) I pretend that I'm balancing myself by using long sentences (ala Poe) but with easy to read words that simply cannot be left out! Right. My K choice was a little different.

    Hello, fellow A-Z Challenger! Here's my latest
    entry. Come visit either of my blogs when you can and leave some comment love:

    K is for Kitchen Konvenience - http://bit.ly/hU4v0h

    Twitter: @SolarChief

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  12. I enjoyed this post! I don't use anything like this- but I have heard of it before. Have a great day!

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  13. Sometimes I need a challenge though.... I don't want all my reading to be gathered from the 700 most commonly used words. (Really - that's all that the majority of people use!)

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  14. KISS is a great acronym for writing! I keep that in mind when I revise, since I almost never write simply in my first drafts.

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  15. for a second i thought you were calling me stupid for loving kiss.. great and helpful words lady... can i go back and listen to kiss alive?
    kidding
    have the best of day!
    jeremy

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  16. words i live by. great advice!
    happy k day!

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  17. I love this term "KISS" it is the way I live my life probably more because of the lat letter than anything... but this is a great way of looking at writing.

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  18. Great post. I've heard of KISS before and try to keep it simple. I hate reading something and stopping just to figure out if the word is a death ray or a cooking utensil.

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  19. Oh thank you for this post Elle. I keep my language simple. Sometimes I struggle wondering if my writing is too simple.

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  20. I try my best to keep it simple, but sometimes I feel like I'm writing in circles!

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  21. oh, that's a great one that I use ALL the time. Of course, most of the time I'm writing news stories, so it's highly appropriate. :D

    other ones... hmm... nothing's springing to mind. But KISS is a good one~ <3

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  22. I know a few computer nerd acronyms. PEBCAC Problem Exists Between Chair And Computer - which is a nice way of saying it's the person that the problem not the computer.
    RTFM - Read The Frikken (or another more colorful word) Manual.

    For my writing I definitely KISS. Not all the time mind you, if a more complex word feels like it fits I'll use it.

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  23. Good point to remember...I tend to get wordy sometimes!

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  24. I don't use any acronyms. I just sit down and write. Sometimes I just sits. But usually I write something.

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  25. For myself, I use WIN - Write It Now! Even if it's a word on the back of my hand cause there's no paper. Too many times I've thought of, or woken up with, a great phrase or idea, only to have it slip away while I did something else for a few minutes.

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  26. Excellent... I think KISS should be used for much of everything in life! I'll just have to watch who I say it to cause they may take it the wrong way and I don't want to kiss everyone... LOL

    Stop by and give K is for Karma a read:-)

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  27. Ah I get ya now. Well I like the description and a good scattering of long languous words (I think that's the word I mean), unless it's fast paced action)Good post :O)

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  28. Great post! I tend to err on the side of brevity and simple words in my fiction writing (although the long sentence comes very easily to me when I'm blogging!).

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  29. Hi Ellie ... what a great picture and post for the Letter "K"!

    I am guilty of long sentences, but I don't use big words. I think I do okay on the rest of it. Simple names and all.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoying the rainbows with me. I'm done with "L" and its funny, so please make sure to check back tomorrow too.

    Have a great Wedneday!

    Kathy

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  30. I don't like unpronouncable sci/fi names that trip me everytime I encounter them.

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  31. Keepin' it simple is what moi is all about. You've read my posts for the challenge, right? *wink* Well, my picture books have to be simple and even my MG novels can't have 50 word sentences. :-) So...I'm at home with simple.

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  32. Great advice for writing and life! :)

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  33. Awwww Xynziongt and Fltinhogz are innocent!
    :-) Take care
    x

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  34. Now I wanted to hear all about the bad boys Ellie. What you wrote was pretty good though. KISS is not always easy.

    Denise>3

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  35. I do try to keep it simple and to the point :)
    Great post.

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  36. I am very much in agreement with you on this. I try to write as lucidly as possible using interesting words and phrases when I can but nothing overly complex. When we compare literature from the 19th century to that of today we might get the impression that readers today are much dumber in regard to vocabulary and that would probably be a correct assumption to make. Easy means less effort and being so often fed with TV and movies readers like it like that.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  37. While I appreciate a good literary sentence once in a while, throw too many of them in one paragraph, and my mind starts to wander.

    "Hmm, what would be good for lunch?"

    My own writing is perhaps TOO simplistic at times, and I have to go back and edit for weak verbs, but my goal is to write something that is fast and compelling to read. I want readers to see the story, not the words.

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