For the beginner writer, writing involves gross amounts of verbiage. For the professional writer, writing is for the target market. For an effective writer, writing is getting a message across to the reader. What better way to do that than through simple, powerful sentences?
Here's a Summary
I'm going to practice what I preach and make this easy on you with a summary.
- Avoid the flowery language if it serves no purpose
- Don't tag your characters every line of dialogue
- Shorter paragraphs
- Short fight scenes
- Reality is simple, drama is complex
Okay, that's the summary of what you need to know. The advice should be clear as day, yet if you need some convincing on why, read on.
The Flowery Language Doesn't Bloom
The experienced readers loathes flowery language. The publishers see it as a red flag. Finally, it is a real pain to write, isn't it? Well, let me give you an example of why.
"He stepped forward with an air of importance and a face of stone. The world was his, yet, it did not know it was in his possession yet. In time, it would know and so would everyone with watchful eye and a sharp mind."
Enjoyable to read, yet only in small doses. Imagine an entire page written like this without a dash of irony? No comedic backing leaves writing like this boring the reader. I wrote this paragraph and I rolled my eyes half-way through.
"He seemed important from the way he held himself, as if he owned the room. Those who cared would see why."
Simpler, yet carries the same message across. Although painted in a less glorious light, the description is the same. The character thinks himself of as the bees-knees, as read in both examples. It's for this reason you should ditch the flowery language.
Save the reader and yourself some time. Think smarter, be subtle.
I discussed this in a recent article. Yet, it fits here too. I am talking about unnecessary character tagging in dialogue. It gets on my nerves. That's a personal opinion, I know, yet I can back it up.
You can establish two characters speaking with one tag.
"Good morning," Brian told Luis.
It isn't lazy if you know who is speaking. Yet, I don't mind the second tag if it is necessary. After all, some reactions are more dramatic than others.
"Good morning," Brian told Luis.
"Says who?" Luis snapped.
Ah, Luis, bit grumpy today? When it comes to dialogue between two characters, two tags is more than enough. If dialogue includes more characters, it needs to be shorter. Of course, with a dash of comedy, it is more than allowed.
Yet, if you keep tag characters without a good reason, your dialogue is messy at best. Keep it simple and if you struggle, keep the dialogue short.
Yes, Short Paragraphs
I don't need to get into this one. Whether you write non-fiction or fiction, clean up your paragraphs. I read somewhere 50 words was plenty. Yet, I still find that some embellishment isn't such a bad thing.
Thus, I say let the limit be set at 100. If you cannot shorten it less than that, start a new paragraph anyway. It looks better, it reads better. If it reads better, they readers read further.
Case and point, the article you're reading now.
Long Fight = Boring, Short Fight = Suspenseful
That isn't a joke if you're laughing. Writing a fight scene is tricky business, but this rule is golden. Keep it short, break it up with dialogue if you must. Yet, if you writing paragraph after paragraph of detail, you're doing it wrong.
A short fight scene has impact, but if it drags on, it falls flat. It is a shame how many authors fail to realise this. Yet, the big names lining the bookshelves have it right. The fight scenes, no matter the setting, are gritty and enjoyable.
To ensure you don't fall into the same trap, make a fight scene a page or two. Break it up with dialogue and if you must, continue the fight scene. If you write with realism in mind, this should be no problem.
If you haven't already, ditching the unnecessary verbiage helps too.
Remember: Reality is Simple, Drama is Complex
There is a rule that you can use anywhere. I am not talking about shortening dialogue and cutting out the unnecessary words. When it comes to writing any fiction, you need to bear this rule in mind.
Reality is simple.
People go through many stages in their writing process. Writer's block also takes a toll now and then. I hope it hits you less often each time you get the chance to writer. Yet, the reality is still simple.
Whether you are writing an adventure or romance, reality is simple. You write anything with less messy interactions. The only thing that you can't cut back on is drama.
Drama is complex.
When I say drama, I mean soap-opera drama. Even a romantic spat or an emotional can carry weight when written in a plain manner. Yet, if you want to convey a soap-opera level of pulpy drama, lay it on heavy.
It depends on the reader's tastes. Yet, what if you have been writing straightforward till drama arises? Well, you write the same way you have been writing. No matter how emotional, some scenes are so sudden and should stay that way. It impacts the reader, which is what you want.
You've Reached the End
The final points I will bring up concern the poetic beauty of simplistic writing. It is not as easy as one might think, being so straightforward. After all, you need to convey a message. If there is too little to work with, the reader will only get confused.
That is why it takes practice. You can explain for paragraphs, but editing needs to cut that down. In doing so, you gain more readers and that is what a successful writer needs. Beginners bluster and splutter their vocab, professionals reply with grace.
Thank you for finishing this article. I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you truly enjoyed it. There are many things you will learn from the writing experience and the 150 above are only a few.
As a big thank you I would like to offer you something for FREE!
A writing course on how to improve your main character!
Click here to check it out your course.
In addition, if would like to receive more content, bonuses and some big discounts on future courses, join the writers group here.
Thank you very much for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer
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