Over Writing

Holy Moly.

You know that feeling? That feeling you get when you’re reading something that just goes on and on and on and on for no reason and it’s just EXHAUSTING!?

It’s like, sure, yes, the writer has explained their concept but they don’t just stop there, they have to explain the concept of the concept?

For example: Sam wandered through the hard wood door that reminded him of the door that had stood at the entrance of his bedroom all those years ago now.

Over Writing. There are all kinds of types of over writing.

– Over descriptive writing, where you use gazillions of describing words.

– Over emotional writing, where you use all kinds of words to capture the character’s emotional state without allowing them to express it

– Over detail writing, where you feel like you need to justify and back up every single thing that characters say, do or feel.

No jokes. READING Over Writing is exhausting. As a matter of fact, I was editing some this morning.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about recently. The art of saying as little as possible, with as much effect as possible. It’s a challenge, because as mentioned in an earlier post sometimes people take MORE words as a sign of BETTER writing. This is not the case. Writing less, and figuring out the very best word choice and metaphors and similes and whatevers shows far more control over language.

There are a couple of tips to keep in mind when avoiding Over Writing:

– Asking yourself, ‘have I said this before?’ if you have, then please don’t say it again.

– Over emphasizing the characters’ emotions with words rather than allowing the character to show or tell how they are felling on their own. I once heard it said that a good writer lets the characters SHOW the reader things rather than narrating it through script.

– When you do the above, but you have the character have twenty conversations with how sad they feel about their dog eating their homework or whatever… one or two, possibly three good outworked examples of their situation should do the trick. No more than that.

– Limit your adjective and adverb usage. No more than two.

– Look for better words, rather than using lots of words. Explore new descriptions, it’s exciting but also adds a dimension to your writing and a personal style.

– Write to a storyline. A lot of the time writers can feel tempted to use Over Writing when they have NO idea what they’re doing. To avoid this, write to a story line

– Make every moment count. Have you ever looked at a storyline and thought, ‘geeze, that part’s going to be annoying?’ I have. Then I stopped and thought, okay if I am resenting writing this part, then a reader won’t want to read it so how about I challenge myself to make it more interesting? Challenge yourself to make every part of the story jump off the page.

– Less is more. A fast paced story is always better than a slow, boring one. I watched Sharknado on Friday and it was awesome. Not because the plot was amazing or the dialogue was just incredible – because neither were true – but because it moved at a good pace and you knew that every four minutes or so someone was going to get ‘Sharked’ in a new and interesting way. Shorter and more intense is better than long and hugely boring. Trust me.

When it all comes down to it, Over Writing is like Hilary Duff’s style – the Lizzie Years. There’s a LOT going on, in the way of hair, make up, lip gloss, colours, etc… and everything’s so shiny that you look at it and think: ‘UH. Over Kill!’



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