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Friday, July 23, 2010

If It Doesn't Move the Story Along, Get Rid of It

When Makeup Girl (I’ll use nicknames to protect the identities of any friends and family members used in such scenarios to avoid any Jerry Springer moments:-) first asked for my help with a creative writing class assignment, she had no idea that I would be “so mean.”  Yup, Makeup Girl actually called me mean.  All because I pointed to large sections of her narrative and admitted that I didn’t care about the information given.  What Makeup Girl soon learned was one of the most important rules in regards to writing.  According to Tanya Yvonne anyway, omit anything that will have that voice in your reader’s head screaming: I don’t care.  I can’t tell you how many stories I have read where the author has taken several pages just to describe a room, a dress, a character’s appearance or how she/he walked in a room.  Boring!  Unless it is key to the plot, meaning that it will somehow move the story along , GET RID OF IT.  I know, I know you spent hours maybe even weeks crafting that scene.  I DON’T CARE.  GET RID OF IT.  You know how you watch a movie and there is some random scene where the lead hot actor is partially naked? And once the next scene starts you think to yourself what was the point of that?  Finally, when the movie has ended you realize that the nudity had nothing to do with what was going on, the producers just thought that it would look good.  Annoying.  Same thing with writing.  Don't just put a passage in to show how you can do a great description.  Because if that looong, overly detailed description does not end up moving the story along it should not be there so GET RID OF IT: )              
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