Adjectives Running Amok

Midway through a press release about a very exciting, totally amazing announcement for next week, I found myself using phrases like "very exciting, totally amazing." Sigh. No, that won't do.

At some point, for whatever reason (Me? Too much coffee - always), we cross the adjective threshold, adding more and more words in an effort to make our writing better and clearer when the opposite happens. In these moments of flourish, there is only one thing to do. Immediately read Jack Finney's "Cousin Len's Wonderful Adjective Cellar." Now. This very moment. I will wait.

Did you read it? Are you forever changed?

In the world of horticulture, it is easy to describe plants and gardens as pretty, great, beautiful, unique, attractive and dozens of other words that amount to the same thing: fluff. Let's discover our internal adjective cellars and put an end to the fluff. For every ten words used, remove the least valuable one. Each time you begin to write "very" or "beautiful," stop and ask yourself, "What would Cousin Len do?" I think he would be excited about next week's announcement, but he would think of clean, concise way to say it.

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