Posted in: editing, novel writing, poetry, poetry writing, revising, writer tips, Writing

Writing It Short, Fat, and Lean

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” – Henry David Thoreau.

When I #amwriting either prose or poetry, I first write long and thin. By that I mean a lot of words to say not as much as I will wind up with, compressed. Having just finished what I hope is the final revision of a 400-page novel, I know the meaning of short and long, thin and fat. I started with what I’ve come to view as a 300-page outline of my novel. Twelve months later, working with an amazing set of editors, I’ve fleshed out the action and compressed the verbage until at 416 pages, I have more scenes, less dialogue, more description, less flounder, and much deeper characters.

It’s amazing what taking out leaves room to put in. If you’re writing an #novel or a #shortstory, try drafting longer and longer and then get out the shears and the dictionary of muscular verbs. (I just made that up, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one?)

If you’re writing #poetry, take out the connective tissue until you reach “terse” and then begin adding adverbs and adjectives. That’s right, I’m recommending to add modifiers. They’re a bridge. You’re going to cut them, but for now see them and consider if you’ve picked the right verb. Verbs are everything. Nouns are a little something. All other parts of speech incline away from making an impact, so are best used sparingly.

Anyway, that’s my #recipeforwriting.

What’s with all the #hashtags? I’m learning. Shortly after I publish this post, I will remove 50% of them.

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