Wednesday, October 03, 2012

White Space

As opposed to white noise, white space is a necessary in the writing world. I too often see assignments of crammed together words, appearing as one paragraph. I am totally lost as to what a person thinks, when as a writer, they would think that this would bode well in the writing world.

White noise is defined as:

1 a : a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range
   b : a constant background noise; especially : one that drowns out other sounds
2    : meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter

Now think of White Space as # 2’s definition: meaningless distracting commotion. Is that what you want your readers to walk away with; the feeling of reading meaningless chatter? Of course not. You want not only your words to be appealing but also the display of your words to be attractive to where the person isn’t pulling their hair out just trying to get to the finish line.

I know some people are from other countries, and might not understand the proper way to portray their work to the American public. They read what others have written, and see how it is done, so why not try and display the work in an appropriate fashion?

Eager writers new to the playing field just want to write and get that piece posted as quick as possible, but in all sincerity, when I open a piece that is all jumbled together like that, not one bit of white space, just one lengthy paragraph? I have to skip over it and not read it at all. I’m sure that is not what they intended to do, to turn people off from their writing, so I say this, before hitting that submit button, read your work out loud. If it sounds appealing it just might have that same affect on your reader.

Now look at your work. Is it the proper wordcount? Is it broken into proper paragraphs, where the reader can visually take note of what they are going to read and the amount of time it is going to take to read?

Remember these five rules before submitting work to ANY place, whether a magazine or an online class. Rules are rules. Guidelines are there not only for the reader, but also for the editor to choose from. If you submit jumbled words, it gets tossed in the trash by the editor, or not read by your fellow classmates.

  1. Always double space after a paragraph making WHITE-SPACE visual to the reader.
  2. Always proofread your work. At an online workshop you’ll get feedback and critique, and they’ll also point out the many grammatical errors you’ve made.
  3. Always read your story out loud! A lot of folk find this weird, sitting alone in a house, reading out loud. But this does help you HEAR what you might have missed in the correct structuring of the sentence.
  4. Always check the word count. If it calls for 500 words, make it 500 words. Editors will toss out work for being ONE WORD over the limit. Get into practice at your online course.
  5. Always take the critique with a grain of salt. Not everyone gets a glowing critique and not all critiques are right in their assessing of your work. You are the creator, the artists. Critiques are to guide you, not to demean your work.
I got a nibble on a book that people are reading about writing! I’m going to try and offer a book to read with my posts, labeled Book Bites. Nifty, eh?

Book Bites on Writing:

 "WIRED FOR STORY," by Lisa Cron


Tiggs said...


Thanks for the pointers--I know many are on F2K, but it is always good to see/read/hear them again. I likes=d the book list post before this post. and I love the idea of the "Book Bites on Writing" tag on the end of the post.

Second: I wanted to post this here and not only on fb.

Joni, I love your blog posts. I don't always get to read them daily and have to then read several at a time, but I do read them. I also often do not have time to post a comment, although I wish I did.

But I wanted you to know that YOU ALWAYS have something "JUST RIGHT" to say to me each day and post that I read--I thank you for that--I know you are not writing to or for me--but writing for yourself (That is the way it should be--writing for YOU!)--but your gift and willingness to share, it ALWAYS blesses me! It is as if you ARE writing it just to me!

You are a blessed writer, blessing others!



joni said...

Thank you SO much! It really really means a lot!!!

(((big ginormous hugs)))

Many of the tips you see at f2k, are MY ideas from many years ago and all the mentors I trained use them now, with my blessing.
It shows, I DID make a difference!

Thank you so much for continuing to remain my friend!