Generally speaking, using big words makes writing seem forced and/or cheesy. (In Meyer's case it was both.) You shouldn't use big words just to try and seem like a better writer than you really are.
Just so you know, it doesn't sound like you used the sort of big words that people usually discourage writers from using. "Unabridged" and "deliberately" are not big- they are sophisticated. If I'm right, you're either a sophomore or junior. That vocabulary is appropriate for someone your age. That kid in your class must not be very bright :p
You know, it's mostly the *overuse* of big words that's discouraged. I'm working on college application essays right now and in class, we had to peer edit our essays and someone wrote as a comment "be careful of big words." I asked her to point out where I used big words (I had no idea I used any at all) and she pointed out "affinity" and "flamboyant." This question is open to everybody- are those big words? Because I don't think they are. Even if they were, I don't see the harm in using two in one essay. Not a big deal.
The difference between your essay and, say, Meyer's writing is that her writing was majorly, properly flowery. She "raped" the thesaurus by using so many unnecessary adjectives and big words. It's as if she thought that being a good writer means that you have a wide vocabulary, which isn't really true. Your essay, on the other hand, used sophisticated words where appropriate. It *would not* have been better to say "full version" rather than unabridged. From the examples of "big words" that you gave, it seems like you didn't use any at all. Make sense?
And, lastly, what Orwell meant. I think he meant that you should be concise in your writing. Just get to the point. Don't dance around what someone's doing or what something looks like.
Or else it could just be that his idea of big words and your idea of big words is different. He *was* more educated than you are now when he said that. Do you get what I mean? His vocabulary was wider than yours is, so he could have thought that certain words weren't big. Like how I think "affinity" and "flamboyant" aren't big, but that girl apparently does.
Also, I don't think we should have to dumb ourselves down. And I don't think not using big words (in excess) *is* dumbing ourselves down. It's just being concise.
I do know what you mean, though.
If I want to use "affinity," I will! So there!
@Goldfish: Why, thank you! I've seen "affinity" around a lot. Somehow it's always used in AP Bio. So I started to use it a little :)
@Leigh: Haha, thanks :) I love the word "flamboyant"! I got it from Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones. Which is a great book that everybody should read, by the way.
@Eich: Conundrum?! That's ridiculous! Everyone I know knows what it means!