Writing With Flavor

This morning I read a blog post with advice on how to keep writing on a blog simple and accessible. On the whole I agreed with the advice – if you intend to use your blog as a business.

Since I don’t intend to use my blog as a business, I’m going to feel free to ignore advice about pulling in the largest number of readers. The only ‘product’ here is me, and if I packaged me as simple and accessible that would be false advertising.

I admit I have enough of an ego to feel wistful when I realize I’m not someone’s cup of tea. I also have enough of an ego not to change the flavor of the tea. I’m a huge fan of L.M. Montgomery’s concept of ‘kindred spirits’ – people whose soul resonates on the same frequency that mine does.

See that? I just mixed spiritual terminology with pseudo-technobabble. It was an accident, but the people that would read that, not find it strange, and know exactly what I meant are more likely to be my sort of people.

I’m blogging as a form of journaling. Recording what I find when I wander the forests of my mind. When it comes down to it, I’m writing for me more than for an audience. I love the possibility of an audience but I’m going to write even without one.

I write as a hobby, as an art form, because I love words and I love putting words together in a way that means something specific, that crafts a particular flavor, or atmosphere. That’s where having a vocabulary full of synonyms comes in handy, you see.

There are so many subtle shadings in words. I could use the word shocking, or disturbing, or macabre. The word I choose will help craft the atmosphere I want to establish for my reader. Shocking is too down to earth, too 6 o’clock news, to establish the same atmosphere that macabre will create.

Another example is penis, dick or cock. They’re all referencing the same body part but which word you choose will definitely change the tone and atmosphere of what you’re writing.

Clearly there’s a need for balance even when crafting atmosphere. You don’t want to veer into purple prose or pedantry, after all. Context matters, though. Is someone using a string of five dollar words to obfuscate their meaning? Or have they slipped one in, almost playfully, just because they like the word and wanted to share?

I want to see L.M. Montgomery veering dangerously close to purple prose. I want to see Tolkien ramble and glimpse the pedantic professor and word-nerd. I want to see Peter S. Beagle turning prose into poetry. I want to see Neil Gaiman thinning the veil between our world and a world of dreams and nightmares.

If we removed the subtle shading, the creation of atmosphere, from writing, we’d be left without style, without individuality – without flavor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s