Is concise and compact writing in fiction recommended?

To me, I feel like it should. Because it makes it easier for readers to read and their eyes just glide thru words. I read somewhere that, ‘hard writing is easy reading’ or ‘If the readers don’t notice words anymore and they just have scenes/pictures/imaginations in their heads, then the authors have done their job right.’ And I myself is a picky reader and I can see this case in a certain light. For example, big words, convoluted sentences, like run on sentences and circling around a point for too long, filler/empty/unnecessary words, like too many adverbs and adjectives weigh down the writing and the narrative. I have an example which I have used before. Both are a ‘tell’ sentences but one is compact/concise and one is run-on. Ex. of long (The strong smell of the poop is so disgusting and stink that it he has to back away from it in horrid.) and a concise one (The poop’s stench repulses him.) The concise sentence has all the meanings of the run-on sentence compact in a few words. Poop’s smell is strong and of course, stink, so why not compact these into ‘stench’ = strong stinky smell. And the word ‘repulse’ means to back away in disgust, distaste, and aversion. What are your thoughts on concise writing in fiction? Again, both of these are ‘tell’ sentence. To show, I would need to create a scene to describe his reaction, dialogues, and body languages.

I have a very low complexity level with my books - aka it’s pretty concise. Keeping that complexity low helps make it more accessible to everyone - even ESL’s. And it makes the books more binge-able because the language is so non-complex. I definitely think there’s room for both complex and non-complex prose in fiction. It all just depends on you and how accessible you want your writing to be.


The long forms usually appear in Gothic fiction and classic English literature.
I don’t think most modern writers write like that, unless they are purposefully imitating Gothic fiction writers and etc.

It reads well for me whilst leaving room for imagination

I personally use a compact writing. I don’t like filler, or anything that doesn’t have to do with the main plot really.
Not to suggest that writers that tell you every detail of a room are wrong, but if you don’t need to know about the desk in the corner I’m not writing about it.
That being said, I like more complex words, because those “Big” words convey heavy meaning that otherwise would take multiple sentences.
All of this could be a change in the times, with people wanting a more streamline system of doing things, and the fact that we are a very visual species so too many words will destroy the vision with unneeded distraction.
That’s just me though, and so far it seems to be working out. My stories might only be 30k words, but they pack the punch of a 100k. In my not so humble opinion.

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I think the best version of your natural voice is recommended. Some people are drawn towards more languid prose, others more concise. When I read, I like prose that balances beauty and clarity, that can elevate itself when it needs to and disappear when it needs to.

The point is, whatever your prose seeks to do, it should do it well.

Now if we’re talking about trying to appeal to certain audiences then sure, one type of prose might be recommended over others, but I don’t think we should ever underestimate the appeal of a story well-written, however written. In all things, balance.

I wouldn’t call this languid, just… bad writing.

I like this quote, although I’d tweak it with ‘hard writing is momentum when reading’. Lush writers like Jemisin, Rothfuss, and Delany still know how to move your eye across the page and transition you from idea to idea with poise and control.


You start forgetting words when things are just right. Simplistic writing is choppy, and is tiring to read. If you had never suffered through a fence of ‘he said, she did, she said, he did’, you are a lucky person.

A text stripped down to the framework is a good starting point, but it needs to grow meat of the well-chosen words on its bones to entice. Sometimes a complicated word fits. Using it three times in a row is a bad idea. A long sentence can relieve the monotony after the author hammered in short ones like nails into a board. Rows of parallel descriptions is also a great tool.

All and all, I would suggest Clark’s Writing Tools book — it makes great points and is balanced

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There’s a balance and a place for both. I hope that I am working towards striking that balance.

Some authors feel they need to overly detail every little thing with precision and detail, taking control of even the most minute element of every scene with complex sentence and styles.

I feel like it is my job as an author to set the scene, give the important details, and let the reader use their imagination to fill in the gaps. For example, I don’t feel the need to tell them there was a moose head hanging over the tavern’s fireplace … just set the scene as a tavern and let them envision it how they wish.

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I think there’s a happy middle ground with most work, but honestly disagree that longer sentences take people out of a work.

I mean, Poe could drone on and on, and while I don’t stan the man half as much as most literature fans do, you have to admit the writing flows. The complexity of a sentence, the language used, can be used to convey a completely different tone, and ultimately you should be using the language that best expresses your aim in your specific work.

Like, if you’re writing a horror story “The monster came around the corner” doesn’t work half as well as something like “The hideous beast, long, and pale, and wrong in all the ways a creature could be, dragged itself around the corner, claws raking across the tile floor with a screeching hiss that sent a cold shock down my spine.”

It’s just up to your own personal voice, and goals as far as tone and mood go.

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In my field of work, everything is concise. Concise, factual, no room for error, opinion or too much subjectivity.

I’m so happy to escape from it. So my writing as a hobbyist is anything but concise. It’s descriptive gibberish.

I know this is unprofessional and will never be published, but I enjoy the freedom of gibberish. That is why I joined Wattpad, really. I can get away with ranting like an unprofessional baffoon and there are people that’ll like it.