Years ago, when I wrote ads for radio, I learned how to cram information into spare thirty-second bits. Later, in workshops and writing classes, I was taught to consider adjectives a sign of weakness that should be ruthlessly slashed. Now when I have to use 400 words when 200 would do, I’m troweling on the little buggers. Fantastic! Efficient! Economical! Innovative! Fraudulent! (That last one applies to me.)
Take the following sentence, for instance. “Dogs love people food.” Well, a mere five words isn’t going to get mama paid, so my next draft would read, “Hungry dogs of all sizes love to munch down their owners’ dinners.” Okay, that’s longer and pretty obvious, but I’m still a paragraph or two short, so draft three might be, “Ravenous domestic dogs, both large and small, furry and short-haired, live to steal delicious tidbits off their owners’ stoneware.”
Since so many people now have web sites that require frequent updating, the demand for generic filler is on the rise, which explains why anyone would pay me for my crimes against sentence construction. So far, I’ve kept to writing the shorter pieces because I fear longer compositions might explode from gaseous bloat. Imagine if you will what might happen. (Sorry) “Truly ravenous domesticated dogs, large and small, furry and short-haired, mutt and purebred, find bliss in the robbing of delicious, perfectly cooked tidbits of both pork and beef from their beloved owners’ delicate, heirloom china.”
So in brief, real writer me is wrestling with commerce writer me. I think we’re both losing.