Flowery Writing – is it Dead?

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Has it ever occurred to you, that as we lean more and more towards ‘simple and sweet’, we are losing a once much loved writing style?

Yes, flowery writing is dead.

Or rather, it’s dying…

Time-honoured classics, the likes of which famed authors such as Charles Dickens and Emily Bronte have penned, will soon be remembered no more.

How can they be when consumers and writers alike are taking the easy route?

People are striving both to read and write easily consumable media, as opposed to brewing up heavy literature and weighty poems

This, for the most part, is due to laziness.

Readers are strapped for time and can’t be bothered to switch on their brain – especially after laborious work.

As for writers?

Well, we need to pay the bills don’t we?

If the market calls for easy-to-read material, surely we must step in and provide!

It’s not as if we can go against the crowd, and unleash a whole lotta’ complex sentences and profound paragraphs on lazy readers, now is it?

Or, can we…?

I say yes – we certainly can!

Think about it. It’s highly beneficial for us writers, if we write harder to read material – both on the web and everywhere else.

I know, I sound like an idiot right now. However, in the long run it’s what’s going to save the craft because, let’s be honest, in a few years we won’t even be able to call writing a ‘craft’.

How can we dare, especially when writing will be so ‘dumbed down’ that even a fledgling three-year-old would be able to read it!

Let’s face it, we’re heading nowhere good.

We’re heading towards a world littered with tight sentences and monotone voices, yet bereft of superb writing and dazzling prose

With all the copy-writing and blogging courses prodding us towards an overly simplified way of writing – how are we not going to end up there?

Before I go on…

It’s worth mentioning that money is the primary reason why it’s such an extreme trend these days to cut words willy-nilly and keep language simple.

If a blog post, advertisement, or article can reach all colours of the rainbow in terms of reading proficiency, their prospects of snagging more clients increases drastically.

However, this isn’t necessarily as profitable as it seems. Especially for fiction writers, and readers.

Over time, this trend founded on money-making, will lead to lower literacy skills and sub par education across the world.

After all, who needs to read those ‘big fancy words’ when no one uses them?

And let’s not forget… It will also sucker-punch the fiction industry, due to people veering away from reading text in bulk.

This simple fact my fellow writers, is the reason why most contemporary novels reject flowery language (as us writers would say) and embrace the concept of minimal wordage.

Sure it’s great for sales, truly it is! But it’s terrible for the development of society and the advancement of global literacy levels. And I hate to say it, but it’s already causing trouble for people.

Seriously… Fifty Shades of Grey??

This is why it’s best to push readers. Stretch them to their limits! Don’t cut sentences and follow the current theme of simplification rocking this world.

Fight what’s happening!

As writers, we are supposedly craftsmen and craftswomen of all things literary. Let us live up to those titles!

Let us also not stoop and lay our heads down to the strategies of corporate clones and advertisers.

Let us, in all earnestness and conviction, hone our craft and create beautiful art.

Remember; art is deep, meaningful, and it moves the soul – it is not simple and watered down.

Sure, I know my advice is a tad controversial and I might ruffle some feathers. Especially since Hemingway was the master of simplifying his writing – but, what he did was different!

He made it an art-form.

He made sure that every word was perfect and that it formed something that spoke to the heart.

What’s happening to writing now, in this day and age?

That’s nothing like Hemingway.

Nothing at all.

If you want to make simple language beautiful, make Hemingway your master. But, do not rip your writing of its form and its meaning!

Do not cut long words and squash your vocabulary. 

Please, I beg you… Writer to writer… do not continue this trend of blank dumbed-down hogwash, that ultimately, is going to send us back into the caveman era.

Let’s write like adults, for adults – not like children, for children.

This way?

We can save the world from what seems to be, well, to be blunt, an impending boom in illiteracy.

 

If You’re in Australia, Here’s an Insightful Article You Might Want to Read – http://www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/explainer/hidden-costs-low-literacy-australia

 

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19 thoughts on “Flowery Writing – is it Dead?

  1. Hey Elly, just wanted to say a massive thank you for this article. A prominent agency came back to me recently with the news that they loved my first novel, but that I had to work on my voice because it was too flowery and needed to be simplified.

    I’ve left the novel open on my PC for weeks now, untouched because I hated the prospect of losing words that I feel bring my book to life – words that loved ones have told me that they adore and don’t want to see cut. Your article has inspired me to keep going. To not worry about what big business thinks and to just keep writing my way.

    Thank you so much, and good luck with the rest of your endeavours!

    KRP

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad KRP! Sometimes simplifying things is the worst thing you can do for a book… It really brings me joy knowing you are going to stick to your guns and keep your voice the way YOU like it. I wish you the best, and I just know an agency will come around and support you for YOU xx

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  2. Have to state that I’ve never been willing to go simple-stupid, even when a business journal I freelanced with was cutting a paragraph into 3-4 smaller bites. Even when I edited a bunch of HS juniors group essays into a chapters for a children’s read-along book, I put somewhat bigger words in, with idea kids would ask adults to help with the idea/word.

    You’re certainly not wrong about people trying to over-simplify, and its been a small thrill when I read something that hits BIG ideas. I saw a talk last night about how the media cranks out enormous amounts of material– specifically about political campaigns– that is really just conglomerations of ‘tested as good’ words, and I wasn’t surprised. The entire time Trump said, “I have a plan, not going to reveal it now,” and it got printed as a fact that a great something would be revealed at a future date, I knew people were falling for bs.

    Stay on the high ground if possible, resist the idea of dumbing down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true! You are spot on that our media is overrun with meaningless words and oversimplified bull-crap. Glad to know someone else shares the same views as I do! Wishing you the best, and happy COMPLEX writing 😉 x

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  3. Reblogged this on Aaron-Michael Hall and commented:
    This was a very interesting post that I truly enjoyed. I have dealt with this issue and continue to craft my novels from my heart. My particular style of prose might not appeal to the new-age, instant gratification reader, but my stories have depth, as do the characters. Faelondul Awaits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Depth is my cup of tea, so keep on writing with complexity and gall I say! Cheers for the comment and reblog. It means a lot knowing you found some use in my words, and it resonated with you 🙂 Happy writing! x

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  4. Your article has given me the chills. This is what I’ve been saying for years. After I published my book, I re-edited to take out adverbs, according to author reviews on Goodreads and Facebook. Then I re-edited again for flowery words and any spots where I used different words for ‘said.’ I’m not happy with the end result. It lost my voice. I’ve been telling people that all we’ll have left are three word sentences. I’ll follow you in your crusade.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Susanne! I’m glad you’re on board with keeping the ‘word-cutting epidemic’ to a minimum. And you are certainly right about losing voice when you start to kick out ‘floweriness’. In my mind, a great book is one full of great prose and an even greater vocabulary. Thanks for the comment – I’m so happy that you could relate to this article. Keep on writing Susanne, and do it YOUR way!! x

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  5. Brilliant post, very thought provoking 🙂 It really depends why you write, doesn’t it? I recently listened to an interview where Joseph Suglia was talking about his writing, and he has a real confidence and strength in his style, and a complete disregard for the audience opinion. In other words, he has complete respect for the author’s total right to control, in every aspect in every way. The author is always right, because they are the creator, the writer, the decision maker, and so anyone else’s opinions (about what might be “wrong” with a book) are personal to them, and irrelevant. It was a really interesting interview, and I really liked his perspective about writing. He talked about writing as art, as something which cannot be wrong.

    So if people still want to write flowery writing, that’s good for them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Quite agree with you particularly now that theres a prevelant Anericam notion that anyone can write a book!

    Well anyone can but whether they have anything half interesting to say is a completely different matter.

    Its true that if you want to be a writer LIVE!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment H 🙂 Glad you managed to agree on some of the points I made. And yes – if you ever want to write, and write WELL, it’s best to live first before you start writing about the matter! Have a great day H, and God bless x

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  7. I think you’re right, Elly, flowery writing is definitely more unusual these days. I think this style of writing probably peaked in the romantic period and therefore is thought of as old-fashioned in 2017. Nowadays, people generally want written information delivered as quickly and simply as possible, especially when it comes to non-fiction. I think flowery writing still has a place in fiction though. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tight sentences and clear, easy to read/understand prose but things are much more interesting when’s there’s some sense of style, emotion and as you say ‘craft’ to the writing.

    I have to disagree with one of your points. I think time-honoured classics by Dickens and the Bronte sisters will be remembered for quite a few more years to come, especially as they remain on high school and university reading lists.

    Also, I agree with you that the decline of flowery writing and the rise of “the easy route” is due in part to readers’ laziness (or lack of time or decreased attention span) but I think it’s also due to publications’ low expectations of modern readers. Online publications, particularly, make assumptions about their readers, such as that no one wants to read long-form journalism/analysis anymore and then dumb-down their content, to make it more digestible, which I think is a shame (though thankfully there’s still plenty of publications that don’t do this).

    I think your point “who needs to read those ‘big fancy words’ when no one uses them?” is really interesting. Studying PWE it seems we’re always taught to avoid complex words if there’s a simpler alternative. I wonder if some of those three syllable plus words will die out?… I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the trend towards the simplification of language is going to negatively affect global literacy levels (do you have any evidence for this?) but I agree it is important to challenge readers.

    I love your passion and that your ‘voice’ really comes through in your writing (not just in this post but in all of them!).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Some great points and arguments Kirra! Perhaps you’re right about publications assuming modern day readers’ capabilities. Definitely something to think about! And I can understand that sometimes it’s more useful to have simple sentences here and there. I just wish there wasn’t so many of them! Personally, I’d love a bit more complexity in our daily newspapers and so forth. Instead of complex lies, let’s bring in some complex sentences and a dash of eloquence! As for evidence, I suppose there is some out there and I could find it. Though, I mainly rely on my current experiences in the school systems for the opinions that I hold. You could say that this is anecdotal, but considering it covers an array of friendships and relationships I believe what I have to say holds some merit. The teachers in Australia are sub-par, and in my schools we hardly ever read. What we did read was far from Dickens and or Emily Bronte!! Most kids got to choose there books, and I would watch them time and time again pick the easiest things they could read… I’d love to be in a school with classics still in the curriculum.. Maybe reading would become a priority for my generation if that were the case! Anyways. I’ve watched countless friends struggle to use correct grammar and to spell – a boy who was 14 or 15 explained he had been tested, and had the reading ability of a 10 year old. He was not disabled at all, he had simply fallen through the gaps in our education. Completely forgotten. This cannot be attributed to anything else (This is a personal opinion of course) in my mind, but to a terrible education system in AUS and to a shove in the back for youths to forget reading and to just pass tests. I figure that if this sort of stuff can happen in my schools, it is happening across Australia. And, perhaps, across the world! If the education systems are failing, and the media is not working towards helping literary development… how are the new generations to cope? Just a deep thought I feel needs to be mulled over in our society and bit more… If people aren’t reading or enjoying reading, nor finding the time to, it is inevitable that eventually literacy levels will decrease. Well, that’s how I see it. It’s a very pessimistic way of looking at things however I deem it the most logical unfortunately.

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  8. I loved reading this post Elly, it’s a thought-provoking read and you’ve articulated many of my thoughts on the current trend of dumbed down writing.

    My workplace is currently in the process of reviewing all of our web pages and culling alot of the (in my opinion valuable) text to make the pages as short and succinct as possible. Overall I disagree with this because each page now reads as a summary and lacks the detail and answers to questions that bring the readers to the pages in the first place.

    Whilst some forms of ‘flowery’ writing can be arduous to read, the shortening of prose and use of smaller words just for the sake of it can also lose readers and their confidence in the writer.

    Thanks for the read!
    Cheers,
    Angela

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree completely Angela. Within reason, ‘flowery’ writing is a necessity! Maybe it shouldn’t be everywhere. I definitely wouldn’t want it on road-signs warning of looming danger! But, I do think we need more of it in some of our articles and books… 🙂 Thanks for your comment! I love hearing about people’s experiences and opinions. It’s honestly refreshing x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice post and great blog, Elly! Kirra is right; you definitely have a strong style coming through. I wonder if laziness and the need for money are the main culprits here, though. The demand for ‘flowery’ literature must be low in Australia. Maybe there’s a correlation between declining literary levels in Australian schools and lack of demand or appreciation for literary texts. I think one needs to be taught to appreciate this kind of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree wholeheartedly Angelica. I believe if my classmates from primary and high-school had been taught to delve into reading, and had been shown how exciting reading can be… they’d have picked up a book more often than they did/and do their phones! It’s very hard for me to find a peer within my age group outside of writing courses who enjoy reading at length… It’s a shame, really! Cheers for the comment x

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