Monday, July 15, 2019

5 W's & an H: Today WHAT

We focused on the WHO yesterday. Today it is about WHAT.

In today's post I want to address WHAT you should include in your story and WHAT you should leave out.

Authors often take the extreme side of this when writing. They either put too much in the story, or too little.

When authors add too much, I can easily see this in the synopsis. In this case, someone has a great idea for a story and then ruins it by adding more and more things to it. Instead of focusing on one single, powerful conflict, the author then makes the character go through a ton of other issues.

Consider a women's fiction piece. The main character is now dealing with an empty nest situation. Nothing wrong with this. Each kid is now at college or has gotten married. That would be a great story. But no, then they add in a husband who is cheating on her, then she gets cancer, then there is a divorce of one of the kids, then one of the kids "comes out" then another...

This is too much.

Writers will often also go too much into detail on transition scenes. The characters are at home and arguing about something. Now they have to go to dinner with friends. Instead of just transitioning from the home to the restaurant, the extend the scene on the ENTIRE car ride there.

Again too much.

On the reverse side, authors leave out details that would immerse us in the story. They leave out the three-dimensional side of the story. We see characters doing things but don't know why. They have the characters move from one scene to the next but don't know how or why they did.

This is really a tough issue. Too much or too little will really kill a story and you have to find the "happy medium." There is no formula. You simply have to ask yourself, is this too much, or is this not enough.

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