23 November, 2011


Writer's Wednesday!!!

In honor of tomorrow's Thanksgiving festivities, my tip for this week is to gorge your writing with words.  I'm often rightfully accused of using far too many words to convey my thoughts when a simpler, more concise way would have sufficed.

Cutting out words in the editing process works better than adding.  So I say "go all out."  Here's an exercise you didn't ask for...  Edit the following sentences to make them stronger:

1)  John chained up his dog in the backyard.

2)  Reaching with trembling shoulders, Jim managed to lift the pterodactyl of a turkey over the candied yams, armada of gravy boats, sweating butter, crystal glasses placed way too soon, half-burned candles that his crazy cousin Patricia most likely lit an hour ago, and the vat of bean salad everyone will politely eat a forkful of and set it uneventfully in the center of the bowing table that threatened to split if they asked much more of it, just in time to save what feeling he had left in the fingers on his right hand that he burned on the roasting pan in spite of the thinner-than-it-should-be oven mitt with the nauseatingly cute cross-stitched pig on the wrist.

Now...  Which sentence gave you more editing productivity?  What's easier?  Making sentence two more manageable?  Or making sentence one more enjoyable to read?  Don't get me wrong.  Straightforward sentences are a good and necessary force in strong writing.

They punctuate and create rhythm while they emphasize.

If your writing is flat, dry, choppy, or overly simplistic, editing it will be a flat, dry, choppy, and ultimately mind-numbing experience.  Fill up your sentences with all the words that come to you without slowing you down.  Chances are that when you go back to edit (because we all know not to edit as you go) the extra words will help you find the perfect way to say what you want rather than have to create it from scratch.

In short, use verbosity in your earlier drafts and save the efficiency for the final ones.

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