Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Nut and Bolt Details

By Connie S. Hall

The thing that is most beneficial to a writer in helping them take care of all the nut and bolt details in a story is to have a first-class critique. I actually know a writer who has never had any stories critiqued. It shows. No one I know writes perfectly all the time.

My worst problem is point of view. I don’t know why I have to jump around in my characters’ heads. It must be confusing to the reader. A good evaluation reminds me that I’m not being consistent.

I find myself skipping around, or maybe not telling the entire story, or I spend time writing about things that are not important. Another tendency I have is to want to put in all the details. Every writer should trust the reader more than I do. If someone didn’t tell me to get rid of it, I’d hang on for dear life.

Like most writers, I have my own pet phrases and words. I try to search for them and delete those that aren’t necessary. One writer I know uses the word ‘that’ more often than necessary. Another writer uses the word ‘got’. They both drive me crazy. A good critique will help you find your unnecessary words.

Someone who does an excellent critique will find the words that you are repeating over and over, and find the sentences that begin with the same word time and again. They will help you chop out the fat.

Before you send your story or article out to the world, make sure you get another opinion. No one can find all the nuts and bolt details in their own work.

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