Monday, February 15, 2010

Sometimes Less is More

By Ali Cross

The other day I finished the third book by an author I love. I've come to expect great things from this author, not the least of which is an extremely well told story. However I was sorely disappointed by this latest book and I know exactly what it was that bothered me: Too many words.

Words are the writer's commodity, as precious as gold, as weighty as platinum.

When words are pandered about, handed out willy nilly, their value deflates. Pretty soon, they're just a collection of words on a page, and they're not that special anymore.

Readers read words like they're hungry for them, desperate for each word, for where those words will take them. But when there's just so many words and they don't take us anywhere special, well, it makes us feel like giving up the journey.

Obviously, that's not something a writer wants. We don't want our readers to give up on our journey, our story. We want them to go with us, to love the journey as well as the destination.

I learned a valuable lesson reading the latest book by this excellent author: Be stingy with your words. Make sure every word belongs on the page, that they're needed. Make each word golden.


Carolyn V. said...

Great advice. Advice we authors need more of sometimes. =) Thanks Ali.

Darvell Hunt said...

Stephen King said some of the best advice he ever got was to trim 10% of his writing once he was done. It can be hard, but it usually is very rewarding.

Krista said...

This was great to read as I head into editing a novel I know is too wordy. Thanks for the reinforcement!

L.T. Elliot said...

Great advice, ali! I tend to get a bit wordy so I need it!