The reviews editor of Publishers Weekly has banned the words “compelling,” “unique,” and “poignant.”
I know I’ve used those words before (probably) in writing about a book, but not really in talking about one.
But often as writers, we can get in a habit of saying the same thing over and over again. If it’s used purposefully and for effect, then that’s okay. Otherwise it’s just lazy. And stupid.
In my own writing for work, I find myself starting sentences with “With” (okay bad sentence construction there) and adding a nice “Plus.” (Whoa, that’s a pun, nice work).
Yes, everyone has their own writing “style” but using the exact same words in similar contexts (whether it be a report, ad copy, or a book review, or in multiple sentences in a story) is not a style, it’s lazy.
A style tackles a subject in a similar-sounding way and format. Maybe short sentences. Action verbs. Longer sentences with conjunctions. But the language should always be fresh and vibrant when possible.
It’s a tricky balance of course. But that’s what makes writing compelling, unique, and poignant.