H.P. Lovecraft’s Writing Advice.

A recent post at Brain Pickings sums up some writing advice of H.P. Lovecraft.

Some of this is bunk, but it does contain, for example, one of the better arguments for the Faulkner side in the Faulkner v. Hemingway “ten-dollar word” debate. (The famous quote from Hemingway: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”) Anyway, Lovecraft writes:

The average student is gravely impeded by the narrow range of words from which he must choose, and he soon discovers that in long compositions he cannot avoid monotony.

The Urban Dictionary entry on “ten-dollar words” is pretty funny—although the example perhaps only illustrates why you shouldn’t use a bunch of Latinisms and/or “ten-dollar words” strung together. FWIW: I’ve usually come down on the side of Faulkner—although Hemingway, in the quote above, makes an excellent point.