LET’S GO ON A WORD DIET

AudienceWhat? That won’t do a thing for my waistline or any other part of my anatomy. But, think of what it will do for your writing.

Sure?

More than sure. A positive move.

Look at all the excess words you have in your story. This will involve a little extra work, but worth its weight. As writers, we all like to expand on a setting, a scene, a character, or a narrative description. Due these additions drive your story forward? Does this make you character more believable? No. Sometimes these extra words detract from the story rather than add anything.

So, go back to the old-fashioned way — a printed version and a red pen. With all the pages in your lap, grab your red pen and uncap this instrument. Relax. This is not your gym exercise, but your brain in action. You need the television off, the radio off, and if you have some good meditation music on a CD, go for it.

Feel the tension float away. Music or no music, it does not matter as long as you are in the moment. Picture yourself as the reader of a new novel, not yours, but your alter ego’s writing. Put that thought on hold, during the reading. Then you can slash, and slash, and not feel a thing. However, your alter ego may not have a great day.

You are in the Diet Mode. Look at each word as necessary. How many times have you used the same word twice within a couple of paragraphs? Go back and slice with your red pen, an action known as PR Slice.

Have you explained any actions or just let the actions happen. If an explanation, use the RP Slice. Actions speak a heck of a lot louder than an explanation. A boxer does not explain each move, but the opponent feels every move.

Then look at your words as trying to get the reader to listen to every movement and they feel like you think they need to be told. Check for all of these places, delete, and rewrite. If you try to show the kiss or the sound of a kiss, write a stripped version of the scene. Guess what? Your reader will relate and remember their first kiss.

Do not make the reader have to grasp or wonder what is going on. This is your job as a writer. Each writer must give the reader everything to make that person become part of the novel.

By putting your novel on a diet, you have deleted explanations, double descriptions, and given the reader his or her utmost senses: I am part of this story. The Word Diet, restores the readers beliefs in the story and words. You have brought the reader to a place he or she remembers, but you have not told them. They recognized the place in an instant.

Congrats. You have lost xxxx words. Your reader is enthralled and you are xxxx pounds less. Showing is fewer calories than telling.

Happy Writing.

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