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Gigi Will Know: How important is using heavy, “big vocabulary” words in creative writing?

"Is simple writing not artistic enough?"

Dear Gigi,

How important is using heavy, “big vocabulary” words in creative writing? Is simple writing not artistic enough? Sometimes I get tired of figuring out a better word.

-I Already Took the S.A.T.

Dear S.A.T.,

The English language is full of great words, but don’t feel obligated to use any of the multisyllabic ones. In fact, the more long, fancy words you use, the more you distract from the actual story.

Great creative writing is about making a connection. How many people do you think would totally walk away from you if you only spoke in biggified vocabulary? Yeah, everyone. Unless you want to strike the same effect with your work, don’t go searching for big words unless they fit the circumstance of the narrative. Say you’re writing an essay or a poem about big words. Or you’ve written a character who only uses big words (and therefore has no friends; sorry, did I say that out loud?).

Use words people can understand. Find creative ways to use those words. That will win you readers.

Put down your No. 2 pencils and pick up a big, big eraser,

—Gigi