Thursday, April 11, 2013

Editing: Be Brief

Being brief in your writing is very important in this world of ours and its "catch me quickly" attitude. I mean, come on. Twitter anyone? 140 characters and that's all folks.

So, how do you know when you are NOT being brief? Well, by using words that are not necessary. Sometimes I think we repeat ourselves and don't even realize it. Like saying, the blood pooled around the body and in the next sentence or two talk about how the blood around the body had made the carpet   wet or how it looked like a blood bathtub, outlining the corpse. Isn't that basically the same thing? Couldn't you say it all in one sentence?

Also, telling the reader every move the character makes. She rose in the morning, pulled on her Manolos, wiped the blood off, buttoned her skirt, opened the door, walked to the mailbox, put a letter in, picked up the paper, and had her morning coffee. Is that really necessary? How about this : Jane woke early, killed her husband, got dressed, and acted normally. (I know, that sort of is sucky writing but I am just trying to make a point).

And remember, the more characters you have in a story, the more dialogue you have, the more information you have to get across so all of them play the proper part. This equals words, people. What if you did the above exposition about every move that 10 characters made? This would not only be boring writing, it would be a VERY long book. The longer the book, the less chance of publication. Sad, but true. Paper costs money.

So - these are only a few things that can cause you to be overly wordy. I am sure you can think of more. I hope this tip has helped you! Go forth. Write. And EDIT for brevity!

1 comment:

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Amen, Kim! I'm a great fan now of cut, cut, cut. In the past, it hurt me so much to do that, but now it's an essential part of the process. Thanks for a great piece!