Pacing and Big Words

The one thing that stands out in the fantasy genre is the reliance on ‘big words’ to aid the story.  I know of relatives who used to, but who sits with a dictionary next to them while they read?

The particular book I am reading is Book 9 in a series of 11.  I read the book because I care about what happens to the two half-brothers the story revolves around, but it seems to become harder to read due to an over-reliance on said words…  and the word ‘viscera’ seeming to appear once every 3-5 pages.

I particularly enjoy the books written by Raymond E.  Feist.  There has only ever been one book I did not take to immediately, but it ended up being awesome as always once past the ‘new character establishment’ section.  There is epic scope to the story world, and it manages to be done without the over-use of ‘big words’.  If anything, the only thing you would need is an encyclopaedia of weaponry, as the battle scenes naturally have a lot of them.

Another fantasy author I came across more recently is R.A.  Salvatore.  This was due to looking up iconic fantasy characters in Wikipedia, and being drawn to the name Drizzt Do’urden.  I consider Mr Salvatore’s writing style quite like Raymond’s, but the pacing is a bit faster and the world scope not so epic.  The thing I admire in his writing is the ability to build characters without it slowing the pacing.  It is one thing I am definitely struggling with at this point in time.

There is one author I know of who has aspects of the above authors, but he is not a fantasy writer.  There are three books I have ever read that I have finished in one day, despite them being sizeable books, and two of them were by him.  They were ‘Hover Car Racer’ and ‘Scarecrow’, the other being a story that was research for my writing (I believe I have mentioned it in previous posts).

The best aspect of Matthew Reilly’s writing style is the overdrive pacing, which he shares somewhat with R.A.  Salvatore.  After all, keeping the reader reading is Aim #1 for any author.  His more recent books were part of a wider story, and like Raymond, he was able to keep the character building going without affecting the pacing.

The only thing I always laugh about when I read a Matthew Reilly book; the appearance of exclamation points in his action sequences.  I find amusing, and oddly refreshing, that the narrator is getting excited describing the action to you.

And, as with Mr Feist and Mr Salvatore, Matthew does not rely on big words to assist in making the story scope seem more epic.  Big words are overrated, and it is the test of an author to avoid them yet make the story work.  The big words should be saved for the location names in your story, as I am doing my best to.


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