“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Elmore Leonard.
That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? If you have ever been in a writers group, you know this syndrome. The writer who is in love with polysyllables for the sake of sounding smart, or the one who never met a metaphor she didn’t like–or worse, a writer in love with both unnecessary polysyllables and provides overdoses of metaphors.
KISS was created for a reason.
Mr. Leonard meant more than just keeping it simple, though. He doesn’t merely want his writing to sound truthful and authentic, he wants it to be truthful and authentic.
His tip is closely tied to another piece of advice: Write from the heart. But that’s another post for another day.
Re-read what you write. Marcel Proust read his words aloud. It’s a tried and true tip. Another take on this comes from Oscar Wilde: Kill your darlings.
In case there is any doubt, he was referring to words.