Trel (trellia_chan) wrote in 1word1day,

Wednesday word: hooptedoodle

hooptedoodle  (hoop-tuh-doodle)

Noun:  Simply put, hooptedoodle is a literary term that refers to the type of overly wordy prose that gets in the way of propelling a story forward. It's filler, and could be edited out without taking anything important or relevant from the writing.

Origin: As far as I can tell, the term was coined and used several times by John Steinbeck in his 1954 novel Sweet Tuesday. If anyone knows anything different, please say so!

Writer Elmore Leonard was fond of the word as well, and often cited John Steinbeck's use of it when refering to it.

Quoting Elmore Leonard from his New York Times article from July 16, 2001:

"Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue."

"What Steinbeck did in Sweet Thursday was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. 'Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts' is one, 'Lousy Wednesday' is another. The third chapter is titled "Hooptedoodle 1" and the 38th chapter 'Hooptedoodle 2' as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: 'Here's where you'll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won't get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.'"
Tags: american, h, literature, made-up, noun, unknown etymology, wordsmith: trellia_chan

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