Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NaNo Filler

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay Block That Adjective!, Alexander McCall Smith discussed overuse of adjectives. He conjectured that creative writing courses are a good idea except when they aren't. He discussed overwriting - writing a mountain out of a molehill and using far too many words to make a point.

Well, obviously, he has not written during November, i.e. National Novel Writing Month, where to reach the 50,000 word goal in a mere 30 days involves an excruciating amount of adjectives, adverbs, and cliches. Trust me, scene descriptions can go on forever. Pour a cup of coffee - you live through the beans being picked.

McCall Smith protests the temptation to overindulge in words, "like a chocolate box with multiple layers." Good analogy, but in NaNo - bring on the nougats, cremes, and fruit flavors.

He clamors for conciseness. He desires sparing use of metaphor. What?

Is he insane? No, wait, NaNo writers are insane and we are abusing the English language with flowery prose. We are not letting our reader use his imagination. Oh well. Mr.McCall Smith blames Roget's thesaurus and demands it be put away.

NO, Sir - absolutely not until December 1st. At that time, I shall re-peruse your essay, re-read my work, and begin to pluck useless adjectives from the path of meaning.

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