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How far is too far when far enough isn’t far enough?

I’m someone who enjoys a little wordplay now and again.  I love words and what you can do with them.  Always have.

One of my favorite Monty Python sketches is the dead parrot with Cleese & Palin, and the punch line is really just a run through a thesaurus on synonyms for “dead” in an increasingly exasperated tone of voice.

And I find myself writing such riffs in my fiction.  And people who help me edit always hate it.

‘I swear to *****ing God, Craig, if you use another goddamn variant of the adjective perspicacious’ to describe a character I’m going to stab you in the eye with a dull exacto knife I’ve been carrying around for just such an occasion.”

And while this kind of threat isn’t wholly convincing to me…

I mean, who carries a knife around strictly for its utility as an excessive ‘perspicacious’-use deterrent?

… I can see where they’re coming from.

It’s the same place where they’ll be spending eternity: North Dakota.

But where do you draw the line?  Take the title of this post.  If you use the word “far” four times in a single sentence you’d better duck because some editor is going to be throwing exacto knives at your exposed areas.  But it’s the use of the word in that sentence that makes it clever.  Plugging in synonyms for “far” doesn’t improve on it, in fact it greatly lessens the sentence’s impact, both in rhythm and cleverness.  To edit that sentence for the sole purpose of removing the “far” is a sin.

Like letting women make angel food cakes for Boo Radley. It’s okay if you don’t understand this reference.

It’s a question that I’m constantly struggling with when rereading my material.

One criticism I received:  “You used the word ‘elevator’ twice in this paragraph.”

They’re in a goddamned elevator. What do you want me to do, make one of the characters British so they can call it a lift?

It can be aggravating.  Having said that, I would like to thank all the people who have helped me in the editing process.

And thank the big guy in the sky that they don’t have access to my internal monologue.

And to wrap up, I notice that I haven’t added a picture of a cute animal in this post, and since that always enhances my hit total… I am going to have to remedy that.

If the people want finger monkey, you give them finger monkey!


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