- Deliberately complicating words and phrases
Why use “erroneous” when you can use “wrong”/ “incorrect”/ “inaccurate”, instead? Sometimes, the use of a complicated word is justified in a certain situation as there may be subtle differences between seemingly similar words. But you shouldn’t use a complicated word just for the sake of making your writing look fancy. Remember that the purpose of your writing is not to show how proficient you are at writing but to convey your message to the readers in the easiest possible way.
- Using a single word to describe something
“Taj Mahal is beautiful”. I think it’s a wasted opportunity to describe the beauty of something by condensing an entire idea into a single word. When you describe something with a single adjective, your brain fetches the stored meaning of the word. As a result, your brain senses this beauty in no other way than other beautiful things. Your writing has failed to evoke a unique feeling in the mind of the reader. Tagore described Taj Mahal as “a teardrop on the cheek of eternity”. Rudyard Kipling described it as “the embodiment of all things pure”.
- Focusing on literary finesse over the idea
No doubt, it is a delight to read elegant passages. But without a strong core idea, the writing is like a fragile golden shell. For me, great writing involves a brilliant idea hidden behind simple words. “A man can be destroyed but not defeated”. Ernest Hemingway’s eight simple words describe the whole idea of the book, Old Man and the Sea.