Two friends“Did you check out this title, Ethel?”

“Yeah, but what is everything? At our age, all we need is to be healthy and happy. Still it is intriguing. What say we give it a chance, Edna? Might spice up our lives.”

Yes, in every magazine, newspaper, television advertisement, talk shows, you hear about diet, diet control, eating healthy, smaller portions, and I could go on and on. Yes, you do not need, (the correct word NEED) everything you put on our plate. But, this goes in different directions than food.

What about our writing? You have this idea rambling around in our head. It takes twists and turns, and you want to get it out of the brain cells and onto paper. So, you begin. Page after page after page the words tumble from your fingertips to the keyboard. It might be a pen and paper, as some people like the feel of the heart pushing the pen.

You do not look. You write. Words fill lines, lines fill the computer screen or the paper and you feel contentment flow with each word. At this rate, you’ll have a book drafted in a short time. The writing continues and continues until you decide to rest and see if there are any more words in our heads. Time to put these pages in a drawer, close down the computer, and give a break to your instant work.

A few days later, you open the drawer or turn on the computer and cannot believe what all you have written; words, phrases, duplications, echoes, punctuation, and what about the grammar? Do you sweat this small stuff? No. This is not a book or novel, it is a work in progress, a draft. Where to begin?

A diet for your words – cut, cut, cut. But, these words tell the story. NO. NO. NO. Cut, cut, cut and show your story. Make a chart of all the fat words in your story. Yes, every single fat word. (These are words that have a tendency  to add fluff, which carry many calories, and nothing else.) As you slice, you toss. Leftovers are no good. Soon your pages and pages and pages return to page and page and page. See the difference that single ‘s’ makes? One less calorie.

As you begin to read your material over again, there is a lightness to your words. Your characters feel better, the setting clearer, the story is taking shape. Yep, and you are thrilled with the new story’s shape. Now, you have room to venture your characters into new conflicts, new romances, and they are happy.

Put your words on a diet and see what happens to your writing. A slimmer, more concise function of your words appear and you don’t miss the leftovers.

“Whew, I knew she would never throw stuff at us. But, she got those extra word,” Edna said looking at Ethel. “Don’t you feel a little less constricted?” “Yep, hate to admit it, but she put words on a diet, not us,” Ethel added.