Monday, April 14, 2014

 Shed that complexity complex

          In the steaming jungles of Central America, flowers of the plant Mucuna holtonii have evolved an elegant waxy configuration that reflects sound waves, thus allowing Glossophaga commissari, a tiny winged mammal with a body the size of the average human thumb, to echolocate said unique flowers, even in total darkness, and thus to extract the nectar within, in exchange for which the animal gratefully pollinates the plant.
          Actually, not being all that sophisticated, the Glossophaga commissari simply call themselves bats, and all they really give a damn about is getting high on that nectar.
          If you don’t want your readers dozing off, don’t be overly exhaustive in your writing.  I try to remember that age-old but still excellent advice: KISS. 
          Elmore Leonard was a master of simplicity and clarity in both dialog and narration, and that helped win him high praise and wide readership.  His powerful fiction is worth studying.


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