Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lazy writing

I belong to an online community called SparkPeople. Highly recommend joining if you want to lose weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle. As someone who sits at a desk all day, I need the support.

Today I received a SparkPeople mailer about creative ways to incorporate healthy eating and activity into your day. As writers, we know all about creativity. People tell me all the time they couldn't imagine coming up with 100K words to write about anything. A book is totally beyond their comprehension. For writers, it's pretty elementary. In fact, with each book, I have to make myself stop writing and then I have to go back and slash huge hunks of my book to trim the thing down.

The key is to deliver the biggest message in the least amount of space, using the least amount of words. You will end up with tight, page-turning scenes that will blend effortlessly into the next. Acheiving that requires thought and creativity. We could take the easy way out like we see on prime time television all the time. When they don't know how to work out a problem, they fast forward to the next scene and let the viewer fill in the blanks.

That's lazy writing, and as a writer, it makes me mad when I see it. I want a reasonable, logical solution.

How can you solve a huge problem using the least amount of space? You don't want to condense every scene down to the bare bones, but you don't want your reader to have to wade through twenty pages of set-up before you get to the action.

Read through your manuscript and see if you have too much setup or not enough. Do scenes drag? Are you repeating information you gave earlier in the story? Your reader will remember your heroine's bedroom is on the second story with French doors leading out to the balcony, where she used to climb down as a teenager.

Surprise me. Think outside the box. Get your hero out of a situation in a way I never saw coming.

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