Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Do It My Way

Do you veer towards certain writing styles? When did you begin to notice what kind of writing appealed to you? What makes you decide to continue reading a book beyond the first few pages?  What makes you want to fling it across the room?

I’ve always loved reading and when I was a child, I liked all the kids’ books I read. I guess I became aware of what I disliked only when I was in college. A classmate was asked to read aloud an essay he had written. I remember thinking: OMG, why must he use all those bombastic words? (‘Bombastic’ was one of our pet words that year and we used it freely.) I suspect my friend had chosen his words carefully and made sure he used as many long words as possible. But I was taken aback!
Even then, knowing zero about writing, I hated those long, unwieldy words. I still dislike them and as far as possible I use the simplest words. 

I guess readers can’t help noticing my love for simple words and a few have been kind enough to point out that I could improve my writing if, instead of sticking to simple words, I splatter my story with words containing multiple syllables. But I have to disagree here. I make a conscious effort to use the simplest words I know… one syllable instead of two; two syllables instead of three or four. I have always disliked using uncommon or seldom-used words, those which lie undisturbed—for long periods of time—on the pages of the dictionary. I am a little intimidated by habitual users of ‘difficult’ or multi-syllabic words. To me it’s as if they want to impress, show they’re better—like ‘Hey, look at what I can do!’ Maybe not true but that’s the impression they give me.

I hate to ‘stand out’. I take pains to blend in so people won’t notice me. My writing is the same.
Let me just say that we have a certain way of writing that is as unique as our finger prints.  This is something we should develop whether we write letters, journals, books or blogs. If your using long, complicated words comes naturally, that’s your style and that’s what you should develop.

As for me, I can never write: Because our last encounter had been sanguineous, I knew it was imprudent to agree to his ludicrous suggestion to meet for a repast but here I am…
 I’ll stick to my simple words and avoid tripping all over myself.

(PS. My editor sent me a text message around noon today. I felt I had to call and hear him actually say: "Your book won second prize in the Popular Readers’ Choice contest." So I called. My first thought had been: OMG! OMG! Really??
From the bottom of my heart I want to say to you all: Thank you! Thank you for your support and your votes! To Gunaqz: Thank you for your daily votes!)


  1. I've read ur book.I love it...Congrats...=)

  2. Congratulations Tina!
    I've read your book and enjoyed it very much too.

  3. Like the choice of words in your book, quite simple but elaborate.

    e.g:(on page 79) When visitors dropped in for a chat, they were offered the Selapah. This was a prized brass heirloom container shaped like a box, had a hinged lid and often decorated with elaborate whorl engravings.

  4. Yay! BIG CONGRATS TINA!! I love your writing style ^__^

  5. Hello everyone! Thank you! Thank you! It is heartening to know that you are among those who drop in here now and then. If you have read my book and liked it and voted too, thank you again. You keep this small flame burning in my chest.

    So you finally read the book, Charles? Started on another short story? I'm in the middle of one and will post it soon!

    Cheers! Have a fun-filled Raya, you all!

  6. Congratz madam.. Wishing you Happy Merdeka Day as well.. :)