I love red licorice. I have been known to eat several handfuls in a sitting. Which I then regret. As delicious as that chewy sweet treat is, too much is not a good thing.
To my mind, vocabulary choice and licorice eating have something in common: a moderate approach is easiest to digest. I love delicious words like capricious or persimmon or navigate. But such words are best used sparingly in a manuscript. They’re like fashion accessories: too many bracelets can distract from one’s overall ensemble.
Please don’t think I am advocating to “dumb down” a manuscript. I am a firm believer in the notion that literature can enrich the reader’s vocabulary (the writer’s, too, for that matter!). What I aim for is a cohesive feeling whole.Which means, as much as I love the word “copacetic,” I might choose to use it only once in a novel. Or I might choose to use a synonym instead.
And that’s just hunky-dory.