Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Too Wordy? Kill 'em All!


Those precious words are all we have to show for hours sitting at the keyboard. When it comes to editing our manuscripts, cutting words is the hardest part. We have elaborate methods of keeping them--highlighting them for possible removal, opening new files to cut and paste the lovelies for future use, whatever your method. But do you hear yourself? 
You’re saving WORDS, for crying out loud. You make your career crafting words into sentences and you think for one minute that you won’t ever be able to recreate such beautiful phraseology? 
Puh-leez.
Okay, all that said, I succumbed to the same temptation to save my words, but you know what? I quickly realized that in one way or another, whether in idea or wording, I was almost always reusing those little lovelies in other manuscripts. 
I think writers often put more emphasis on their words to the detriment of pacing--the flow of the story. Whether a phrase or a paragraph or a page, if it seems to throw the story off track, or cause the pacing to slow, or just doesn’t fit, saving it is futile. It’s garbage. Trash. Put it in the round file and don’t look back. 
Try this. 
Instead of focusing on the beauty of a useless passage, focus more on the overall story.  Focus on the pacing and flow. If three paragraphs of lovely description slow the pacing, chuck it. Don’t fear that you won’t be able to recreate it at a later time. If you’ve strung together such lovely descriptions once, you can certainly do it again. And you will. Because you’re a writer.

S. Dionne Moore is a t recently named2012 Carol Award finalist forPromise of Time, a historical romance found in the compilationPromise Brides. Her first book, Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, has just been released in Ebook format along with books two and three in the series, Polly Dent Loses Grip andYour Goose is Cooked. Her tenth book, A Heartbeat Away, releases as part of the Abingdon Quilts of Loveseries in May 2013.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Sandra - I think we all get carried away at times and you're right - it's hard to cull our words. It's a fine line between fill and narrative I would agree. We must remember that those extra words are for our story's' resting stops or readers will be up all night! Thanks for the good reminder.

    ~Nancy Jill
    The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series

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  2. Sandy - You hit the nail on the head. Nothing hurts like having to get rid of words that have come from your little mind hard working mind:) Loved the post and it was very timely for me.
    Debbie Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"

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  3. Another great post Sandy. I'll remember this when I have to get rid of wordy passages.
    Debbie Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"

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  4. Really good article Sandra. I like to save those deleted portions and recycle them at some point in another book or as excerpts for my blog.

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  5. Oh, but it is so painful to delete stuff, and I've had so much practice at it!

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