Sunday, June 7, 2015

Boring writing

My friend Irene Watson and I would have long conversations about writing and the publishing industry. (She has passed now.) I found one of her posts that I want to pass on to everyone about boring descriptions.

First, (or firstly if you speak British English), whether or not you've taken writing classes at uni, you have some sense of pacing. It happens in everyday conversation, music (tempo), and even how we walk.

In writing pacing is driven by telling and showing. It is demonstrated by the length of the sentences and paragraphs, and even chapter length.

One of the most common edits that I do to an ms is cut the wordiness and make the sentence content straightforward.

Here are a couple of examples:
  • Some 20 or 30 feet away... change that to one or the other number of feet and delete "some."
  • It was about 9:00 pm...change that to it was 9:00 PM.
You get the picture. Most writers have pet words that get infused into the writing too often. They are vague words that keep the writing from being crisp and fluid.

Every word and every sentence needs to be purposeful. If it doesn't move the story forward, then cut it. The same is true of characters. If they don't serve a purpose to move the story forward, they need to be in some other ms.

Anyway...check out Irene's blog.

(I'm not sure why that didn't turn into a clickable link. It is worth copying and pasting into your browser. Give it a try.)

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