In an era of text lingo and cutesy acronyms, everything is shortened. We no longer write long letters with big words—or lengthy expositions to novels. We like short and sweet. We like texts. We like succinct emails. We like to get right to the point. And my point is…?
In April, I took a hiatus from writing fiction and devoted the month to poetry—I read it, I wrote it, I probably even dreamt about it. Then I spent May perusing the free classics on my Kindle. And now I’m reading my manuscript and shaking my head, using the delete button more often than the space bar. My edgy, basketball-playing narrator sounds like a late nineteenth century poetess—and she couldn’t talk smack to save her life. Now I have a character who is suffering from split-century personalities.
You see, I have been Writing Under the Influence of Classic Literature (W.U.I.C.L.), but unlike other under-the-influence crimes, it’s not against the law. You won’t even get a slap on the wrist. You might, however, get some swell feedback from your editor.
So…I have set my classics aside, said au revoir to poetic notions, and started reading a stack of YA fiction. And after devouring a few teen novels, I am brimming with sarcasm and using “like” much too often in the real world, but the good news is, I am ready to finish my “lovely” manuscript—sans the polysyllabic vernacular and seven-line sentences.