Today, I’m continuing with some easy ways to tighten your writing. What do people mean when they say, “This piece needs tightening?”
Writing Tip for Today: Along with the tricks of sentence construction and how to describe without overloading, tight writing includes some of these:
- To Scene or Not to Scene? Beginning writers often describe, in excruciating detail, the inconsequential, while summarizing the important stuff. In fiction, this might mean that the reader must wade through a long scene wherein the character is waking up, sliding into the robe and slippers, going for the coffee pot, etc. The reason we rarely need this type of scene is that almost everyone follows a similar routine. To tighten, simply write, “She got up and dressed for her day.” If you spot a scene where the goal is to get a cup of anything, you may wish to rewrite. Then, considering acting out the important goal of the scene.
- Action, Action, Action. Take a look at your scenes. Do many of them occur around a table? In real life we do spend a lot of time yakking over tea, coffee or beer. But in fiction this idea doesn’t translate as well. The reason? The action is limited to mouths moving (dialogue) and some occasional sipping, swigging or guzzling. Rethink scenes where the table is central. Reset in an active environment. Your characters could be weeding the garden, building a rabbit hutch or hiking through a forest, urban or rural. Readers Crave Action.
- Writing Beyond Dialogue. Many times writers draft their fiction in nearly all dialogue. While we’ve been told to avoid talking heads, long speeches or other dialogue pitfalls, take a look at your dialogue. Is most of the story told through what the characters say? To tighten, move past this idea and insert more body language and internal emotions. Even your setting can tell part of the story. Don’t make the dialogue shoulder too much of the story question.