Fiction, Musings, Opinion, Uncategorized

K.I.S.S. it for Luck


Old book bindings at the Merton College library.
Image via Wikipedia

Thanks for the many thought-provoking comments in response to What Was I Thinking: A Writer’s Struggle (http://wp.me/pzutE-7x).  

Barbara of Anaheim asked: “What do you mean when you say we’re kissing our novels?

Barbara, that is an excellent question that has several possible answers but for the sake of time, I’ll k.i.s.s. it.

The actual term is k.i.s.s. and it’s an acronym. There are those who will give you all sorts of interpretations but for those of us who loved English Honors, to k.i.s.s your work means to write in clear and concise sentences. Some students will encounter the k.i.s.s. theory at the same time they encounter Silas Marner, high school freshman year.  As far as I know, most English teachers still use the term.

For authors, k.i.s.s. stands for: keep it short and simple. In my post I was referring to the k.i.s.s. theory as a tool today’s authors use to fit in with the mainstream fiction genre.  My point was simply, writers will shorten novels to solicit the acceptance of the mainstream instead of maintaining their literary integrity. K.i.s.s.ing doesn’t have to be all bad.  Sometimes authors don’t take time to write the “bones” of their novel.  One of the side effects of this type of behavior is the tendency to over write the story. Instead of  telling what happened, the author tends to oversell the scene. Let’s look at the example below:

“John broke into the house. John had purchased a car about a month ago. The car had a distinctive key . When John entered the residence, he dropped that key. –Who cares?

Let’s apply the k.i.s.s. theory to the passage:

“John dropped his keys when he broke into the house.” The passage is clean, the message clear, and the point made.

While I don’t want to get too technical here, the k.i.s.s. theory is the essence of technical writing.  Finally, applying the k.i.s.s. theory to your writing can help cure anxiety about your writing; no need to find the right words.  Keeping the focus of your story clear and the language simple will make for a well-crafted novel.

I hope that clears up my thoughts on k.i.s.s.ing.  If all else fails you could always have a safety net  for getting your novel published; kiss it for luck!

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2 thoughts on “K.I.S.S. it for Luck”

  1. Great advice. It seems easy to get lost in the details, especially as a new writer. You want to make sure everything is right, therefore you get lost in the details that are insignificant.

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