A really, really bad idea- Ambiguity instead of power.

Ambiguity has its place its writing but not nearly as often as I would like it to.  There are so many missed opportunities for dramatic and effective writing and I waste time being vague.

This is better done with an example:

Six stitches later, it was pretty clear that the two of them would never be friends again.

This is how it could be better:

Six stitches later, it was clear that the two of them would never be friends.

You are probably thinking that they both say the same thing, but you are wrong. 


(I do recognize that I was vague using the word probably but I didn’t want to presume anything about you, my awesome readers . . . oh, goody, now I am pandering.)

The difference between the two sentences is that one has power in it and the other doesn’t.  The second sentence is definitive and succinct.  It conveys emotion where the first sentence leaves a glimmer of hope that my two characters will someday get along.

Pretty is something that girls are and even then it is a vague descriptor.  Your buddy tells you that girl is pretty.  You are left to wonder how pretty she is.  Maybe the two of you have different idea of what is pretty is and what it isn’t.  Whoever got it in their head that pretty could be a term of probability not only destroyed its true meaning, but misled thousands of authors in the process.

Why did I bother with the word again in the first sentence?  It sounded pretty (yes I am laughing too)  I don’t have any better explanation than that.  The two of them were never friends in the first place.  Unless they know something I do not, they will never be friends in the future.  In other words, not only was I being vague but I was lying to my readers.

It is such an easy thing to do.  I know that this is not the only time I have ever done this and I can’t say that I will never do it again.  Hopefully I can do it less and maybe after reading this, you will have more dramatic and effective writing too.

May your characters always listen and your plot lines be productive.

Liz

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One comment on “A really, really bad idea- Ambiguity instead of power.

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