Thursday, May 1, 2008

Unnecessary writing

Okay, so we Southerners are known for our love of language, and also our tendency to talk in long drawn out phrases. Well, this Southern gal has a tendency to do the same in my writing. I find sometimes (okay, especially first drafts!) that I include a lot of stuff in my scenes that is just plain not needed. For example, recently I wrote a scene where my characters were at a bar, and they didn't need to do anything but look for a certain villain, or his henchmen, but instead, I found myself writing a long conversation between them that was unnecessary.

Quite easy to do. My characters are Southerners and their life is full of drama. Sometimes that dialogue between them is really important to me as their creator, but not so much for the reader. Gotta go, says I, and the cutting began.

It is a good revision tool to go through your work and slash out all of the unnecessary dialogue, description, or other scene setting that doesn't move your story along.

Your readers will thank you.

Hmm...looking over this post, I see a few places where I could do some work. Take out a that here, and adjective there....

Until next time, happy snipping!


Julie Ann Shapiro said...

I don't mind long sentences as long they are interesting. Lots of times excessive prose and background detail is just BORING! Not everyone is a Hemingway who can get away with a one sentence paragraph. Nor is everyone a Michener.

Karen Harrington said...

So true about Southerners and long sentences with lots of flourish. I kinda like those in the right setting.

Kim Smith said...

The word "verbose" comes to mind-- *grin*

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

You know, I so relate, but I'm in an opposite place today. A book I wrote back in 2002 or 2003, Firesong: an unholy grave, is currently on the docket. I'm polishing it to get ready to submit to Twilight Times Books and it will be the fifth Gus LeGarde mystery. I wrote it so fast that it is actually a bit slim in detail, it just zooms along... but I always felt as if it lacked something, you know? I've got three critique buddies (thanks, Pat, SW, and Marta!) going through it with me and all have made excellent suggestions. One of them, however, has actually suggested expanding segments to better describe the scene. She's gone so far as to suggest new similies, which I've happily absorbed. And I think it's decidedly improving the work! It's weird to be on the other side of "cut, cut, cut!" but I think sometimes it's necessary! Thanks for a great piece, Kim. ;o)