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Monday, March 14, 2016

Cut the Fat

post by Michelle Griep

It's nearly that bikini and speedo time of year. But don't worry. I'm not going all diet-commando on you, guilting you out for eating that quart of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey last night. It is time to cut the fat, but the chubbiness I'm talking about is in your writing. Whether you're penning a novel or a note to Great Aunt Gertrude, the words you put down on paper matter because some poor slob has to read them.

How exactly can you trim the waste off your writing? Here are a few tips, little cowboy . . .

Cut the description. 
I know this goes against the grain of every creative writing class you've ever taken. But really. If your nametag doesn't say John Steinbeck or Carl Sandburg, then chop off 90% of what you've written or readers will gloss over all those words you painstakingly covered the page with.

Step away from the dictionary.
Multi-syllabic words don't make you look any smarter than a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches. Trust me on this one. Big words don't impress people, they just annoy them.

There's enough monotony in real life.
Readers don't need to see your character pull off every detail like getting into the car, turning the key, revving the engine, releasing the parking break, pushing in the clutch, yada-yada.

Get to the point, Sparky, and that point better involve a flaming helicopter crash.
Don't waste time on backstory. Keep your tale moving forward, from one crisis to the next.

You don't have to answer every question.
In fact, you shouldn't, not until the very end. Readers like to figure things out on their own. You don't have to be writing a mystery to engage in a little mystery.

Incorporate these techniques into your writing and you'll have a svelte looking manuscript in no time.


Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

1 comments:

chappydebbie said...

Great advice. You must be a wonderful author with great cheerleaders. *wink wink*