So, for anyone who doesn't know, I'm an English teacher, and I've always wanted to write a novel. However, I know sometimes my writing can be a bit... much for some people. I really like my style but my boyfriend said I may need to tone down the words and sentence structure so it's more easily understood by my target audience (between the ages of 18-30). What do you think? Here's a paragraph from the story. Are the words and sentence structure too difficult? by the way, my boyfriend personally likes it, he's the type to read Moby Dick a hundred times for the fun of it. But he thinks it'll sell better if I make it easier to read.
"The only thing [she] learned from her studies with Wizards was the history of the lands through the books that the students were permitted to read, which she was supposed to bring with her to evening service. However, she had left them in her billet, as she had lost track of time meditating in the forest, a place of quietude and one of few areas near the city she could focus, clearing her mind of all deleterious thought. Still, she weaved through the infinite number of Sages and Wizards, hastening her stride with every footstep, attempting to reach the Sanctum before the service began."
It's just a rough draft, so I still have editing to do. Should I use more simple words and shorten some of my sentences? I'm still in the beginning stages of the book and would like to know what you guys think. And, before you ask, I don't use a thesaurus unless I'm trying to ensure I don't use an adjective, adverb, verb, or sometimes a noun in the same sentence, so I didn't use one in this paragraph.
- Your style and word choice is fine the way it is.50%(6)38%(8)Vote22%(2)
- You should make some of the words smaller and sentences shorter.8%(1)14%(3)Vote22%(2)
- The words are fine, but the sentences are too long.42%(5)48%(10)Vote56%(5)
- The sentences are a good length, but the words are too advanced.0%(0)0%(0)Vote0%(0)
Most Helpful Guy
So I asked my girlfriend who knows more about writing theory than I do, and she said that the words themselves are fine, but the sentences are too long; and they're too long because you're trying to explain more than you need - and more than the reader needs to know in this context.
She said, because there is so much in fantasy to tell the reader, it's important not to over-explain things when it's not relevant yet. She also said this is a mistake that many novice writers make.
The concrete example is that in the very first sentence:
"The only thing she learned from her studies with Wizards was the history of the lands through the books that the students were permitted to read, which she was supposed to bring with her to evening service."
You explain the following things:
- she learned only the history of the lands
- these are the only books the students were allowed to read
- she was supposed to bring the books to evening service
Out of these points, the first two are NOT relevant in this particular context.
And that's what makes it seem "too advanced". The sentences lose cohesion due to their length, and they get to this length because they say more than is required at that given frame in time.
My girlfriend said once this is all removed as per editing the draft, the sentences will become much clearer to read, too.1
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