Apr 30, 2011

*Bling In Your Writing Could Be A Deal Breaker

by Cindy R. Williams

What is bling?  Bling in the fashion world is flashy like sequins or rhinestones on a dress. Bling in the music world is also flashy, think golden grills, much like braces but just for show worn by wrappers --song wrappers --not candy wrappers.

Bling in your writing is good right? Not always. There is a place for a little bling, but according to Jessica Page Morrell in THANKS, BUT THIS ISN'T FOR US, "Over the years I've observed that most writers fall into two broad categories: those who overwrite and those who underwrite. Those who overwrite produce overwrought wordy outpourings; those who underwrite create anemic briefings." 

If you write with bling, you may fall into the category of overwriting. Morrell goes on to state," When writers use too much bling, the statement they're making is: I don't trust my readers and I like to emote on the page . . . You see, bling stems from inexperience and not trusting in the reader as your partner in this enterprise. Each reader brings his life experiences and understanding to your pages."

"Readers want an experience when they open a book, but giving them an experience doesn't mean piling on," Morrell continues.

She goes on to list forms of bling to use only sparingly. 

OVERKILL - Extra over the top and showy.
     Example: Her blue eyes reflected the brilliant blue sky, the sapphire gleam of the deep blue lake and the blue of her flashy silk blouse. 
PURPLE BLING - Extravagant, euphemistic and cliche. Think purple prose most often found in character descriptions.
     Example: Her quivering yet gentle lower lip glinted with a minuscule drop of scarlet shimmering liquid blood.
SHOW-OFF -  Using elaborate vocabulary to impress your reader. Readers may feel as if you are writing down to them as you show off.
     Example: Replace "numerous" with "many." Replace "compensate" with "pay," and "converse" with "talk." Keep it simple.
LITTLE-WORD PILEUP - Too many prepositions are redundant.
     Example:  Instead of writing at "a later date," write "later." Instead of writing "in the vicinity of," write "near." Instead of writing "as a consequence of," write "because."
YE OLD CORNY LANGUAGE - Using archaic words.
     Example:  Using "upon" when you mean "on," using "amidst" when you mean "amid," and "betwixt" when you mean "between."

A simple way to avoid bling is to "KICC" -- Keep it clear and clean. There is a beauty in words that punch.


  1. I honestly have never thought about this before. I think I might overwrite a bit, so I will be paying more attention to that detail in my blog. Thanks for the advice.

  2. You illustrated so well what I was just telling my husband a few nights ago. I have been pushing my way through a book that a good friend wants me to read, but the author uses overly large words wherever he can as though he were "showing off" and it would be so much better with simpler words. It's just too wordy! Great reminder.

  3. This is the one thing I've hated about "classic" southerner writers. The endless bling. Hate it.

  4. Agree with you all. When I read about using bling in writing I found it refreshing. It seemed to take the pressure off. I don't need to write flowery or with big words.

  5. Great post, Cindy. Thanks. I plead guilty! Thank you for the examples. They are very helpful! hugs~

  6. This is a great overview! I woudl like to read more. And I will look at me writing and keep it simple


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.