Simplicity in Writing

Middle school is a very common time for kids to branch out to and experiment with new hobbies and pastimes. If you actively read The ESSAYER (thank you, by the way), you can probably guess that one of these forms of recreation is writing. I often see students who sound like they want to be the next Leo Tolstoy or J. R. R. Tolkien forming and shaping an idea for a book they’d want to write in the future, but the idea ends up taking as long as a novel to be written in the first place. I believe that I can call it common knowledge when I say, “The bigger the task, the longer it takes to get done.”

The connection between the quote and the example above is obvious, but is there any correlation between idea length and time in writing? The truth is, there is be no absolutely correct answer, which leaves the problem solving to yourself. From my perspective, starting out with a shorter, simpler idea works out better in the long run. Developing a story or an essay as I go may prolong the time spent actually writing the document, but brainstorming time isn’t just cut in half, it’s cut into eighths. Then again, that’s just my personal preference. You may prefer creating characters, data, illustrations and charts before making your masterpiece of a book/blog post/etc.

Another concern I was thinking about a few days ago involves the length of a piece. Going back to Tolstoy, his renown work that is War and Piece is one of the longest books of all time, yet is based off the relatively simple idea of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. While I was pondering this, I wrote a nice quote that had slipped into my mind:

“Only the shortest idea can make the longest book.”

From past experiences, I know that taking time and effort to fully develop an idea and start writing afterwards can lead to a rushed and disjointed final product. To explain, (and this is even more prevalent if you don’t have a notebook), you might have a truly brilliant thought in the middle of a brainstorming session, but because of the fear of forgetfulness, you feel that fitting it into your Word document as fast as possible will get the fear off your chest. Although this may seem like a good idea at first, doing so will make your writing feel rushed if you aren’t at a good climax point yet, regardless of the genre or format of the project. And since the climax is being rushed in, the result may have a paragraph that goes from “the elders were calmly sipping calmly in their quiet abode” to “a violent earthquake ripped through the town” in an instant, therefore creating a disjointed passage.

In conclusion, the ideas presented are solely my opinion. If you feel that creating a more thorough, in-depth original concept is not effective, you do that. After all, everybody is different. But keep in mind that doing whatever it takes to fix disjointed passages is always justifiable. Even though nothing can be perfected, any piece can be enjoyable if you put the effort into it.

Nicholas Lucchetto, The ESSAYER

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