Tuesday, 18 September 2012

How to Write With Precision.

I love to read but most of all I love to read books which have short and simple sentences. I'm not a huge fan of flowery prose and I find it immensely distracting to read a book that only has three sentences per page. I struggle to follow the plotline with books like these as I usually forget the sentence's point by the time I have finished reading.

So, if you're like me you'll like writing short sentences as well as reading them.

Here's how you do it.

  1. If it's obvious, don't say it. Don't say your character looked across the room with their eyes. If they're looking at something it's obviously going to be with their eyes.
  2. Avoid repetition. If you say your character has long blonde hair there's no need to mention it again every time it swishes over her face. If you've told the reader this fact once they'll remember it in the next chapter.
  3. Don't explain everything. Write actively, not passively. Give your reader enough credit to work things out for themselves. You don't have to keep hitting them over the head by explaining every single little detail. If you do this it's only going to slow down your writing.
  4. Cut the fancy language. Unusual and impressive words can sometimes add meaning to your writing. But having them in every other sentence is just showing off and will turn off your reader quicker than a light switch.
  5. Say what you mean. Your writing should always be clear and concise. Your reader should be able to picture the scene with crystal clear vision once they have read the chapter. Say as much as possible in as few words.
So, what works for you? Would you like to share any more useful tips?

3 comments:

  1. Great blog. I sometimes use a few big words, but then I grew up with two women who used big words. Your number 3 - yes! It bugs me when the writer has characters walk into a room and every darn thing in that room is described in excrutiating detail. I would much prefer a couple/few details and then be allowed to imagine the rest myself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Karen,

    Yes, I think issue number three is my biggest pet hate as well. To be honest I think I should have made that my number one point! ;) Thanks for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, These are great points. I agree with you. Some authors describe the landscape so much, I forget what the characters are doing. I also write devotions. They can be only 200 words...total. That includes the title, the bible verse, a short prayer, a challenge and of course, the devotion. That has helped me immensely in cutting down the verbage.

      Delete