Monday, 11 February 2019

Being a Wordy Writer, And How To Fix It

   I learned a writing term, recently. It's an ironic term, and self-explanatory, and it applies to the vast majority of young, self-published and unpublished writers. 'Over-use of exposition'. What does over-use of exposition mean? It means 'wordy'. And it's probably the most common trap that a writer will be caught in.
   I'm caught in it myself - I've know that much long before I heard the technical term - and I'm actively working against it. And it's hard. Having been taught in primary school not to write a story of 'and then, and then, and then', to inject heart into it instead of merely writing a series of events, I naturally try to keep as much description and passion in it as I can to separate myself from mediocre writers (not that I actually claim to be otherwise). And that leads to long, drawn-out stories that are tedious to read. The reader doesn't need to be able to picture every corner of a room or every freckle on someone's face for it to be a good book. A good book is clever, it has a heart, maybe even a message, and was a pleasure to read. Unnecessarily wordy stories are not a pleasure to read. And yet, even in knowing that, it's still something I and any number of other young or professionally inexperienced authors will succumb to.

   I've been revising the second book of my trilogy these past few weeks, and it's being proven to me that this is still very much a problem in my own writing. It's not as bad as once it was, but I'm still finding myself deleting more than altering. But I'm learning, and trying to break deep-seated habits. And while it disheartens me to see that I'm still succumbing, it's also nice to know that I'm identifying the problem and that I know how to fix it. I'm not so certain that my work is great, I'm not so set on "past-me wrote this for a reason" and too afraid to let it go. Editing is so important, and the 'delete' button is not your enemy.
   Just...make sure you back up your files before you edit them.

   How do you fix it? Well, if you find yourself in the same situation, if you're a wordy writer who needs help identifying the problem with over-use of exposition and tips on how to adjust and edit it, then take a look at this article on my author website (yes, I have one - hello imposter syndrome) and see if it helps. There is a writing exercise at the end, and an activity that you can apply to your current book, novel, short story - whatever piece of creative writing you're currently working on.
   Let me know if it helps, or if you need anything cleared up and I'll be more than happy to answer and/or edit the page where necessary!


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