Erin's Poetry Tips

40 tips to poetry and poetry forums

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Brevity vs. Verbosity

how much is too much?

1. The quality or state of being brief in duration.
2. Concise expression; terseness.

If your message is conveyed more successfully in 10 words, why use 100?

1.Using or containing a great and usually an excessive number of words.

The idea of poetry is to convey a message, an image, an emotion, to the reader. To do this successfully, the reader has to be left with an impression of your work that lasts beyond the actual reading of it. It has to have enough power that they remember it.

In order to accomplish this feat, we often use flowery language and too many words, trying to convince them to hold on to the idea we’re trying to get across to them,. Unfortunately, that usually has the opposite effect of what we’re trying to achieve. Too many words, particularly modifiers (adjectives, describing words) tends to bury our idea, hide it from the reader, who is then forced to dig through the excess to get to the good stuff, which, frankly guys, they’re probably NOT going to do.

The solution is to cut out the overkill, make every word count, make every word mean something, and have a reason for every word choice.