Of words and verbiage
I spent the last two weeks going over my agent’s edit notes and revising accordingly. After the initial big picture edits, I decided to do one last comb through to tighten the prose. And what I found was that I had the tendency to be verbose, stating with more words than necessary where fewer would suffice, or in some cases repeating ideas stated in a previous line. [One could argue the last sentence is me being verbose]. Also culprit were filler, connecting words like and, just, suddenly, now. It made for tedious reading, and affected the rhythm of the prose.
So I cut. Ruthlessly. Rewriting to convey my point in the least amount of words. All the while wondering what drove me do be so verbose. I came up with a list of possibilities:
Word count, that nifty little counter in the corner of your word processor by which I ( and most writers) gauge our daily progress. It could be that I had been determined to hit a daily word count goal and I added filler. I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Don’t do this. It makes for crappy prose.
Stage direction. I had several phrases like: “That was when she saw the knife”. That was when is excessive. “She saw the knife” rings better and takes out the authorial voice/direction, leaving space for the characters and their actions.
Less is more is an oft-touted truism, one worth its weight when it comes to writing.
I sold a story to The Dark over the weekend - my third story in this venue - and I’m really excited about this. In it I take a Lovecraftian Old God, Shub-Niggurath and put my own Nigeria-centric spin on it.
That tweet was borne of my displeasure with writing safe, formulaic stories, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many telling me to “let my weird shine”. Well, The Goatkeeper’s Harvest shall shine in a future issue of The Dark. It is my weirdest story yet and I can’t wait for you all to read it.
Also in horror-related news, I wrote on my blog about my introduction to horror as a concept and a genre, and why I write it.
That’s all for now. Stay safe and wear a mask.
Until next time.