Less Isn’t Always More!

editing-tips-300x230I think one of the best problems an author can have is overwriting. You shared more information than was necessary. It’s a lot easier to go back and cut than it is to add new content. At least it is for me.

The problem I struggle with is how much should I cut. I’ve been known to take a hatchet to a piece when a widdling tool would have worked much better. A quote I read recently stuck in my head and sums it up perfectly. “Less is more, unless it’s not enough.” David Corbett.

I understand and am living that quote right now. I have a project I’ve been working on for years. Yes, I said years, and before you get to critical, note that the average novel takes 7-10 years to get published. I wrote a blog on it one time to encourage my readers and myself.

At any rate, I took a hatchet to the project and lost interest in it. Every time I pick it up for editing and/or revision, I want to just put it down and be done with it. A story I once loved, has lost its appeal.

The past few days, before I even ran across this quote, I had begun to take a closer look at my work. Why wasn’t it appealing anymore? Well, for one thing, the opening wasn’t grabbing my attention and compelling me to move forward.

I deleted the prologue because I read somewhere that they were a no-no. In doing so, I lost the events that compelled the reader to move forward. I lost a thread that was interwoven into the fabric of the story and pulled everything together. I lost important details that were necessary for the reader to make sense of why certain things were happening the way they were.

The quote, “Less is more unless it’s not enough“, describes what I’ve been dealing with perfectly.Β  Thank goodness I don’t completely delete my work. It’s still there. My plan is to retrieve that prologue and make it my first chapter. The second chapter will be set 20 years later and the story will go from there.

And by the way, sometimes a prologue is necessary and works, but I’ll talk about that another day.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

 

Less Isn’t Always More!

5 thoughts on “Less Isn’t Always More!

  1. I hate all of those writing rules. So limiting and nonsensical.
    I ignore it all and write the way I want to. We writers have to trust our own vision. Writing advice is often given in this blanket, unilateral “should apply to everyone” kind of way that doesn’t account for individual artistic vision.

    I love getting beta readers who are readers only, not writers. Too many writers focus on those “never do X” bits of advice. Someone who is a reader only will tell you what they like and don’t like, looking at the story as a whole forest, not pulling out trees individually because some writing book or blog said they had to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I like prologues, when done well πŸ™‚ I cut mine because it didn’t need to be in there, but I appreciated the writing craft book “The First 50 Pages” that my friend gave me, which validated prologues (for me) again. Plugging yours in as a chapter seems like a smart fix!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did you put the prologue back in? I have prologues in all 3 of my novels. I know they are a nono, too, but I really think that, in my case, they explain something way further in the novel I think sometimes you just need to do what your heart is telling you is right. What feels right. Put them back in and your novel may interest you again!

    Liked by 1 person

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