Friday, July 11, 2008

Losing Weight~The Write Way

Losing Weight ~ the Write Way.
"Branch out and expand your horizons. Write right and fly with the angels." ~joni

Even writers need to lose weight, and I’m not talking about the extra pounds that calories put on, I’m talking about too many words.

Have you ever looked at artist’s paintings and said, "That line doesn’t belong there?" No? Why? Why do you suppose that the artist took his time and made his picture perfect for the eye to behold? The same goes for the writer. He should do his best to omit unnecessary words that drag his sentences down.

A writer must work diligently to make his work concise and to the point like the new age airlines, lightweight and no excess baggage. The excess baggage will cost you at some point.

A writer needs to make every word count in his/her writing. Writing a 2500 word story can more than likely be cut to 2000 words, with a mere elimination of the ANDS, BUTS and OR’s. Putting your writing on a diet takes skill, time, and discipline.

When you submit your work, do you not think that an editor sees all the excess flubber hanging around your sentences like a slab of bacon? He sees every single standout word like a red light that is screaming to him AMATEUR.

Avoid redundancy whenever possible. Is the point not made when you say 12 am. Do you really need to say, 12 am in the morning? The same goes for 12 noon, can’t you just say noon? Reduce your clauses to phrases from phrases to words. Eliminate your excess baggage.

Putting your writing on a fat-free diet will help the reader digest your tale much easier than feeding them a prose style that makes no bit of sense at all (oh dear, I’m in trouble.) If you’ve established yourself and people understand your wordiness than go for it. If you are just starting out or have been writing for years and getting nowhere with submissions, try losing some extra words. See if the work looks better and SOUNDS better.

Did I already tell you the importance of reading your work out loud right? YES! Make sure you read out loud your wordy version and the tightened version.

Do me a favor and cut that 2500 word story down to 2000 then cut more and more and submit your work as a flash fiction. See if submitting it as a flash piece gets it accepted quicker than the longer piece of work.

Go on… I dare you.


Donna Sundblad said...

Great advice, Joni. It may feel like it hurts to cut those words, but I find when I do, the end product is better for it. The first story I ever had published had to be cut by 1,000 words. Not easy, but well worth it. I'll never forget that phone call telling me it was accepted.

Donna Sundblad

Anonymous said...

When writing the first draft, even the second draft, I overwrite.I then go back in and hack away the excess. It can take many drafts to hone my story, but when I'm finished, my story is leaner and clearer.

Writer's diet. That's cute, Joni


Anonymous said...

lol Joni, I like how you put this. Cutting the excess, putting your writing on a diet. It will certainly look better!
Good for a fit writing! =D


One strawberry with a very tiny little cream on top and two drops of chocolate. =D

joni said...

Thanks for visiting ladies!

We all knnow that a little snip here and there in our writing is a good habit. ;-)
And who couldn't afford to lose a pound or two, er umm, a WORD or two?

We're lean mean writing machines!



June said...

Well said, Joni!

When I read the beginning I thought you were going to talk about the book THE WRITING DIET: Write Yourself Right Size by Julia Cameron. (Surprise!)

I can find food in the house. I can find words to write with. I can find words to cut from stories so they are tighter and more focused.

...but! Where in all the house is that book hiding? (I did begin to read it, but it keeps disappearing...)


Take care,