Tag Archives | tightening sentences

Cut the “crap”.

A comment from Jayde on Wednesday’s post got me thinking.

It’s amazing how there’s an emphasis on the need to cut, when in fact many publishers will ask for more description, more thoughts, more colourful language. While craft books are fantastic in that they teach a writer the basics of good and bad writing, in the end establishing a personal voice that engages a reader and truly works is what will get a book published.

And yes, I agree. A story needs fleshed out scenes, colorful language, specific details. When people who know what they are talking about, advise cutting 10% of your manuscript – they mean to cut the crap. (Which in my first first draft meant basically the whole thing.)

And then replace it with specific details, great showing, well-placed telling…etc.

So often times, it’s not just cut, cut, cut.

It’s cut, cut, cut, and then replace with better writing that’s not crap. And honestly that kind of writing doesn’t happen over night. It doesn’t come after just reading every how to book ever written. It comes with practice.

So write, write, write.  Read, read, read (and hopefully some excellent writing will seep into your subconscious).

And when you realize you’ve learned a lot, you can lean back and say, “Aah, now I understand cut, cut, cut.” You’ll see frivolous dialogue, sentences that could be tightened, characters that could be combined.

Have patience. You’ll get there.

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