I am starting to realize that in writing simple is best. I am working towards diminishing the “floreado” (as we called it back in Lima, circa 1980s-1990s) in my work. But it’s hard, you know? In a young writers mind, we want everything to sound pretty sometimes…or at least eloquent. Well, first let me explain what it means to “florear.” In a simple explanation – to “florear” means to add flowers to your writing, or your message, or your declaration of love to a 15 year-old girlfriend outside of a wooden garage door when you know absolutely well (Jose Luis) it might be best to say WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY ALREADY! But such is life, that we get lost in the flowers.
In other words, for most writers I know, we think that making things sound nice will hide the fact that maybe (a) we don’t know what we’re talking about and/or (b) we’re still trying to get our life together. Hehe. Just kidding fellow writers! The truth is, writing is freaking scary. And I’ve realized that what has helped me not go crazy when I am putting things down on a page is to keep it simple.
To illustrate this further, let me give you two examples:
- Complicated: George’s eyes swell with the watery memories of his past – regrets, loss, and unspoken truths. He reaches for Lisa’s hand and manages to whimper out his feelings “I can’t stand to be with you another day.” Having wasted the better days of her twenties with a coward, Lisa closes her eyes in agony.
- Simple: George tells Lisa the truth, he doesn’t love her anymore. She releases his hands, smiles, and walks away never looking back again.
In the complicated version we see a cowering George and a pretty pathetic Lisa. But in the simple version – Lisa has a bit more of redemption near the end. It’s cleaner and just as revealing. In fact, it seems to have more of an impact. It can also be shortened.
- Complicated: Laura spills her Chai Tea Latte on her new Macintosh Apple computer (the new silver kind that’s flat and hipster cool). She sees her reflection on the sugary brown surface and finds it comical. A sensation bubbles within her core and she releases a flutter of positive vibes out of her mouth. The cafe is filled with echoes of pleasure. The barista turns around quick, as he wipes down a glass. The laugh is intoxicating and he just has to join in.
- Simple: Laura spills her coffee on her laptop. She laughs hysterically, and the barista joins her with a chuckle.
Ugh! Keep it simple. Unless you’re writing a farce – in which case THE MORE ridiculous you can be – THE BETTER.