Friday, May 17, 2013

Are you smarter than an 8th-grader? I hope so 'cuz school's out!

I ask the question because as a romance writer I am told not to use big words as they put a reader off and may take a reader out of the story long enough to discourage them from continuing. Damn. You mean to tell me that if I use any word other than what is in a reader's mental vocabulary list, they will stop reading the book? Talk about easily distracted. Publishers and editors say that the average book buyer reads at an 8th grade level. Is this true? Unless one has a reading disability or one has left school or one is impaired in some other way, why is one still reading at an elementary school level if one is no longer in elementary school?  No, seriously, why? If you are not afflicted by any of the above and read at that level, why? Are you the product of a school system that did leave its kids behind? A system that asked you to do just enough to pass the test and get by? No matter how comfy you may feel being in that big group of "average joes," remember this. "Average" or "normal" simply means you are floating along with the majority of folks. Not doing anything to stand out from, deviate from or distinguish yourself from the grazing sheep. You are in a safe, unexciting space. Please don't ask me or expect me to create in that kind of limiting space. I can't. So when a writer takes the time to create, don't give up on the creation because a few words stump you. Get a real dictionary. Expand that mental vocabulary list. You can always come back to where you left off in the book.

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