Aiming for clean writing

A while ago I received a rejection for a short story.

The rejection criticised a word I used, saying it had come to its present meaning through abuse of its true meaning. The word was ‘livid’ and I had used it in its sense of referring to whiteness. I thought this was quite unusual and I liked the way it sounded and felt within its sentence.

The feedback said my use was not also incorrect but, in the form I used it, lazy. Ouch.

After I had licked my wounds I wondered, ‘what happens when the people holding the reins know no more than us. Or, heaven forbid, less!’ Heck, I’ve seen short story markets that insist ‘Do not send us work with typos in’ on pages with typos in.

But the truth is that there will always be people ‘up there’ holding the power that allows us to be published, or enjoyed, or revered – and perhaps, sometimes, they will be mistaken. And sometimes they will not. (That’s when they will lavish me with praise, of course.)

The panel of readers also advised that my story didn’t flow well in places, and it is this solid advice that I have concentrated on as I have rewritten.

I’ve also dispensed with ‘livid’ – it’s possible I only used it because I was trying to be clever.

2 comments on “Aiming for clean writing

  1. johncoyote says:

    I don’t know. I been told many things over the years. My favorite response from a publisher was. You are a epic writer. You should of born 400 years too late. Take advice with thoughts. No writer is the same. I like writer’s who write detail description of location, people and situation. A lot of people don’t. This blog open the door to along discussion. I’m reading the George Martin series. Long and epic books. Game of Thrones made me re-think my style. I need more detail and description to take the reader to the place I want them to be. Thank you.

  2. kinkyfreedom says:

    thanks for your reply John – you’re right that there are many styles, and even finding your style doesn’t mean it wont change and evolve over time. all we can do then is keep reading, and trying! sounds like you have some interesting direction to explore. good luck!

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