Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Verbomania or Validity

Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary.

I will be the first to admit that I suffer from verbomania. It’s a real word, I’m being veridicous, although perhaps a bit versute and I’m making myself vertiginous. Okay enough of that! Feel free to consult a dictionary, I know I did.

As I am fully aware of my verbomania, I have to be extra careful to maintain validity. I love nothing more than writing a lyrical and sweeping paragraph, preferably one that has me blowing into a Kleenex, and then reading it aloud to myself. But far too often I use deep poetic license and end up scrapping the tear jerking prose. Why? Because it’s verbose and since I don’t write literary fiction, I write YA, and one sentence usually cuts to the chase.

But even with short and sweet our work must maintain validity. For example, if you are writing sci-fi or a futuristic dystopian you can simply make up all the inventions that your world will need. But, will the story be believable? I’m sure several of you will disagree with me, but the minute I start reading anything and the physics of the story are impossible, I’m done. So how can we maintain that balance?

Remember the movie, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, from 1968? The super computer HAL was completely believable, even to people who at that time had likely never seen a computer. Why? Because it was grounded in probability, the movie had validity.

I’m currently writing a dystopian set about sixty years in the future, that’s not such a long time away but the world will be much different. Forty years ago open heart surgery was huge, now, you’re lucky to visitors while you’re in the hospital. It’s become so routine we don’t even say open heart surgery anymore. My problem lies with what will be possible sixty years from now and still be probable? I spend a ginormous amount of time reading genetic research because I want my freaks to be freaky, freaking believably so. I try to give my writing validity.

So drop me a line, how do you find yourself cornered with literary license versus validity or are you so far gone with verbomania you can bluff your way through it?

1 comment:

  1. Bonjour Madam McFalls,

    I came across your website while looking up images for 'writing redheads'. BTW, I think I should consult an old dictionary my family gave me, to look up 'veridicous', as I'm unable to find it in online dictionaries, nor my simple Webster's paperback. I'd be interested in knowing how that word is used. :)

    My name is Jenn, and I live in the Portland, OR. area. I'm a straight, single, childfree, 43 y/o. I've thrown myself back into school in the last few years, as education was semi-wasted on me as a bored, ambitiously teen. (I LOVE school now)

    Some years ago, I'd fallen in with a rather influential online group of people that threw me for a loop---writers! We met and created a Yahoo group, and wrote 'vanity' stories for fun. A few of us discovered we actually had a knack for literary fiction, (non-vanity style) and continued on our own when Facebook became a more progressive way of keeping in touch.

    Since then, I've written an evolving manuscript, with a sequel that's been put on the back-burner for some time.

    Anyway, you can find me at:​Cofyjunky, if you're interested in a 'literary-friend'. :)
    ~ Au revoir, Jenn L.