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Wordiness


As I comb through my novel this last final time, I am seriously understanding the meaning of what people say when they say something’s wordy.

All writers have the tendency and something like that is perfectly fine in the first draft, but as I edit, I really see how it drags down the story. The use of adverbs for instance is a common way to find wordiness. Take that sentence right there above that I opened with.

As I comb through my novel this last final time, I am seriously understanding the meaning of what people say when they say something’s wordy.

See how wordy that is. I can get the same effect with fewer words. Mind you, I am habitually wordy on this since it is a blog, but it’s good to know I do know what I’m talking about when I can critique and dissect my own work on the spot. Anyway, let’s revise that.

As I comb through my novel this last final time, I am seriously understanding understand the meaning of what people say when they say what’s meant when people say something’s wordy.

Note that I only corrected some of the wordiness and didn’t put exactly what people. It’s not needed for this lesson. But you can see that we get the same impact. In fact, the impact is better that the original sentence because we don’t have to sort through all those unnecessary words. But not only do I have to look for adverbs, adjectives and other words that weight the sentence down, I have to look for entire scenes and paragraphs that don’t move the story forward.

That doesn’t mean that you don’t go into detail and can’t have paragraphs that go into detail (In fact I may need to incorporate some detail when I run back through for proofreading), but I’m talking about those scenes that are just there for the simple purpose that there are there and since I’m working with an old manuscript, there are a lot of them. So you have to ask yourself, does this scene really belong here and it hurts to do for I had some really witty lines in some of the scenes I wrote, but the story was better in the long run.

Now this will seriously hurt your word count, as so far I’m minus about a thousand words, but that’s much less than the last edit which means I probably got it all. I’m looking at going from 72k to 65k, which is fine. It may become more because I will definitely add more detail as I reread it for flow and clarity, but the good thing about trimming in writing is that you don’t have to wait for it to grow back like you do when trimming a bush. If you think you trimmed too much, go back to the other version.

So I just felt like writing this as I come to the end of editing my novel. Can’t wait to be finished. I’m still not sure if I’m going to query agents or self-publish as an e-book, but I’ll see. Hope this helped someone to know that they’re not alone. This veteran amateur is doing some of the same things you are right now.

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1 comments:

Diane Carlisle said...

I love rewriting and editing. Finding wordiness to chop is something I love, it's like a treasure for me. Ah ha! Another one! Like Word Find. :)

Thanks for this fun post.