Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ABC's of Writing - (W)riting About The Weather Is BORING!

The W today can be either for writing or weather. It works both ways.

This post today focuses on what you need to include in your story and what really can go away. I do believe that a lot of writers struggle with this issue. They know they have to paint a complete picture for the reader, but, in doing so, they go overboard and explain far too much. For you TXT'RS out there - TMI.

You have to stop and think before you type many of those passages in your story. Is it really necessary to go into a lot of detail about the weather, the flora and the fauna? Sometimes it is, but in many cases, this is information the reader really has no interest in.

I bring this up because this "world building" information dump, completely slows a story down. It just drags things to a complete halt. No, it doesn't set the tone for the story, it is just stops it.

Think of it this way. As a human, your brain is taking in information 24/7. When you drive to work, or walk down the street, the brain is picking up on everything that is going on around you. But here's the twist. The brain knows what is important for you to focus on at that particular time. Seeing the color of the trees might not be important for that moment you are crossing through a busy intersection. Seeing the hot looking guy or girl in the car next to you isn't important when you are pulling out of a parking spot at the mall. It is the car racing down the road behind you.

Now, think of your stories. If you look at every scene you write, there is a single goal to that scene. It might be to expose something new about the character. It might be to develop the conflict of the plot or to create a certain tone. If that description of the wind outside or the paint color of the walls is not in line with that "thesis" of the scene, you simply have to gloss over it or not discuss it at all.

This is what editors and agents talk about when we say you need to tighten up your story. There are just a lot of loose things flowing around in the story that can go away.

Your job over this Thanksgiving break is to do just that. Clean up those stories!


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