Sunday, 14 December 2014

Make every word count

Writing is a long and sometimes lonely journey
When giving feedback this is something I often talk about.  Making every word count and ensuring that each word moves the story forward. It sounds easy doesn't it but it can be a little difficult and easy to forget when you get wrapped up in your story telling and the sound of your own voice. We all do it particularly in that first draft when we get excited about our subject. I personally killed three chapters out of my latest WIP. They were great but they did nothing for the story. They were fabulous if you wanted to know about horses though!

It is all about keeping the writing tight. Lots of unnecessary words end up slowing your story down and taking your reader away from the main point and main thrust, Impacting on the pace and therefore potentially losing the interest of the reader. How do you spot it? That can be the hard part. It is looking at sentences and paragraphs and asking yourself. What am I trying to say? Does it say what I want it to? Am I showing it the best way I can? And yes I am sorry often it comes back to that show not tell too (see previous post).

But and there is a big BUT it is not all about making the writing so tight there is no colour to it. When a reader reads your writing they need to feel your story. They need to experience it and become part of the narrative so they forget everything else that is going on around them and live it. You remember those stories that stay with you for days after you have finished reading them? That is what you are trying to create with your words when you are making every word count.

No one ever said writing was easy. Writing is a long and sometimes lonely journey.

I would suggest you can't do anything about making every word count until you have finished your whole story. I wouldn't try and do it while first writing the story because you might stop your creative process. Get the story down first. It is part of the editing process because until the story is finished you won't know which words are important! You won't know what is at the heart of the story you are trying to tell. Be patient and listen to your gut it is inevitably right. Go on have fun writing over the Christmas period.

I finished lecturing on Friday on what turned out to be a strange and difficult semester for me. Not one I ever want to repeat. I have never felt so disconnected and yes that favourite word discombobulated. My colleagues and friends have been brilliant and kind and generous with their support. They have touched my heart. My body has gone into melt down now as I have pushed it too hard. I really should know better. I have been disabled long enough to know what I can and can't do but apparently not. However it is the build up to Christmas which I love so much that has to make everything better.

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