Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Less is MORE



I just finished reading a novel whose author, in the Acknowledgements page, thanked so many people that the page turned into pages, plural.

I’m one of those readers who always reads authors’ Thank Yous. There, I encounter the good feel of gratefulness, and occasionally a deeper glimpse into the writer’s process. I rarely know any of the names being thanked, but it matters not. I like the ambiance; being in the presence of expansiveness and joy, something I feel deeply for my beta readers and anyone who ever helped me be a better person.

But here comes my pet peevishness: when the number of people mentioned goes over, say, ten— it’s diminishing returns multiplied exponentially with every addition.

Like everything else in writing, (and life), curtailing exuberance actually has the effect of giving a statement power. I lamented this in an old post about overuse of exclamation points, here.

I actually went on to count the number of people thanked by name in the above mentioned author’s river of gratitude. As I did so, I wondered if some dark part of me wasn’t envious that she not only had so many people to thank, but even knew this many people. (The number is two-hundred and thirty-six, but who’s counting.😮) I’m sure every one of them is diminished by the size of the crowd.

I don’t have an exact number not to exceed. I just wanted to remind myself (and anyone reading this) that less is more.

©Mark Anderson 2015


Evelyn said...

Good point, Mirka.

One thing about writing puzzle books is that I'm lucky if I get to include a dedication. Forget about a full page (or pages) of acknowledgements. My dedications are always to God and one person or group of people (such as students or my teachers). The one exception was my self-pubbed pb. It was dedicated to my mom, my grandchildren, and God.

Vijaya said...

I've also come across books where the acknowledgements run over several pages but oddly it hasn't bothered me. I think we PB writers tend to appreciate brevity, and less is more :)

Barbara Etlin said...

I always read acknowledgements. I've even been mentioned in a few. :-)

The going-overboard thing could happen to a first-time author who may not know whether there will ever be a second book published...

Mirka Breen said...

"The going-overboard thing could happen to a first-time author who may not know whether there will ever be a second book published..."
This^ is exactly what applies in the case I mentioned. ;)

MirkaK said...

This time I have to disagree with you about less is more. I have thanked so many people (often I've had to interview hundreds)in the creation of my non-fiction books. I would feel remiss if I didn't acknowledge all the help I get. I'd rather overflow with gratitude than skimp. But perhaps it's a different situation when it comes to fiction. Just saying...

Mirka Breen said...

^Here's proof that two Mirkas can think differently :D