We need to talk about my editing pet peeve. And, well, to put bluntly, it's not me. It's you.
I know that you think that saying things in a straightforward way is boring. I can tell, having worked through about sixty grueling pages of your writing in the last week. If only your content wasn't so good, I would kick this project away and wash my hands. But curses! Your story is so good. So instead, I need you to work with me a little here.
The thing about your overwriting, Overwriter? I mean, even worse than the fact that it's terrible and embarrassing for you. It's just boring. It's going to be the thing that makes people put your book down and never buy it. I know that in your mind, this language was a good idea. You clearly put a lot of time into stringing together as many adjectives, adverbs, and "replacement" nouns that struck you as interesting. So I'm gonna need you to try to be honest with yourself and flexible with me here.
Some short tips for you, Overwriter.
-Every noun need not be accompanied by both and adjective and a modifying adverb. For example, "dazzlingly brilliant hues." Maybe that example sounds ok to you standing alone where it is right now (and actually, it's really not ok--none of the words in that string are interesting or unique, so why not just say it simply, instead?), so let's picture it in a string:
The flirtingly feathery fringe of Mary's perfectly fitted jumper was incredibly intricately embroidered in dazzlingly brilliant colors and hues.
Unfortunately, because of the composition of that sentence, you didn't leave me with anything I wanted to read.
-Alliteration. Just... try not to let it happen. Flirtingly feather fringe? I know it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I promise. You won't regret letting it go.
-Try to keep an eye open for unnecessary restatement. "Colors and hues" is the same word twice. "Last and final"--same word twice. "Ultimate and concluding"--yup. "Sharp and puncturing"--close enough. But that brings us to
-Try to avoid using verbs as adjectives too much. Colorful verbs are great--as verbs. Don't take away their punch by overusing them. Or "proliferating" them, as you would like to say. What is it with you and the word proliferating?
-Most of your problems come down to dialogue tags. It's ok to use the word "said," even if you use it more than once. Really. You can just say "Jackie said" instead of "Jackie sneered jeeringly" or "Jackie continued her bombastic harangue, her outraged grimace flickering as a sympathetic smirk fought its way to the surface." Repeat after me: WORDS SPEAK LOUDER THAN DIALOGUE TAGS.
-As you might notice from the above example, when you overwrite something you make it... well, much less meaningful. What you have above doesn't even make sense. Do you really want to confuse your reader by plugging together "big" words that don't make sense? Every word you add is another word you have to be able to stand by. (I can't believe I'm actually going to break this down, but maybe the exercise is worthwhile.) For example, is Jackie's harangue REALLY bombastic? I don't think it is. Earlier, you described Jackie as shy and retiring. Why would her character suddenly change for a dialogue tag? But even if her harrangue really is bombastic, the words "bombastic" and "harangue" have different nuances. When you put them together, the nuances clash and, well, you sound a little dumb. So... maybe try to think of a different way to express it. Or better yet, "said."
-Don't try to stand by "bombastic harangue," dear Overwriter. The reason? All your fellow overwriters LOVE the words "bombastic" and "harrangue." Here's a short list of some of the words overwriters love (and when you find yourself using them, perhaps pull back):
sudden, suddenly (everything can't be sudden, I'm sorry. Some things just happen without any suddenness at all; most things, in fact.)
anything that ends in -ingly (ok sometimes, for some people--but not for you. Sorry, you just lost your privileges.)
Dear Overwriter, the most futile and frustrating fact (unnecessary nonsensical alliteration! Did you spot it?!) about this whole letter I'm writing to you is you don't know who you are. Overwriting, I've learned, is a condition of blindness. At least, I can only hope it is--if you actually realized how terrible your overwriting was, I hope you wouldn't have sent me your manuscript anyway.
So I'm just going to have to put in a plea here that you try not to spread your disease among other writers, and that you maybe have a stiff drink (or two) before you tackle my ed memo.
(A slowly recovering Overwriter--one day at a time, people. One day at a time.)