Yesterday, I was trying to find a grammar rule, and I came across a paragraph from the book, The Old Man and The Sea. Wow, Earnest Hemmingway certainly mastered the English language, and the excerpt made me want to reread his book. Later, I thought about Hemmingway’s words as I edited my latest book. Unfortunately, I kept encountering a familiar issue. I blast through the plot at maximum speed. This means there are no extra descriptions, emotional thoughts, or lofty sentences. Only prompt dialog along with crisp illustrations. Yikes!
What is going on? Am I a minimalist? Is my writing philosophy, “Let the readers fill in the blanks.” Dang, that last explanation hits close to home. I suppose the answer is, “yes, I think the readers should fill in the blanks.” Yet, I want to be an author who provides the reader with an excellent read. This included well-written scenes and awesome characters.
What should I do? Take writing classes? Focus more/less on outlines? How about a full edit that “fluffs up the paragraphs?” Perhaps I should read more bestselling books? More beta edits?
It is difficult to face one’s own problems, but fortunately, all solutions follow the same path. Decide to tackle the issue, collect data, form a plan, and execute. The problem is that I am still at the first stage and have not truly decided that blasting through a plot is an issue.
For example, I recently started the book Sex On The Moon by Ben Mezrich. In it, he described the fantastic story of a person who wanted to steal some NASA moon rocks. Ben launched into a grand character description with loads of background right away. This included hairstyles, options, politics, home life… The details were so thick that I needed to skip ahead a few paragraphs.
What? Why not enjoy the rich scene? Because it was boring! Let’s get to the action! Steal the rocks! Let’s go! While we are young! Now, wait a minute. What about other readers? Indeed, they would appreciate a grand description. Well… That is where we disagree, and therefore, I cannot see the issue. Readers need grand narratives for both entertainment and knowledge.
Well, this may be true, but what should I do? Writing this blog caused me to change, and I have included a “fluff up the paragraph” editing pass. This will add descriptions and hopefully not cause me too much heartache.
Is making such a tremendous change possible? Yes, and I have the proof. My initial dialog integration was a mess and now it is passable. So, I can change. So, after some “fluffing” editing passes, it will be natural to write flowery descriptions. It will probably take a year or two to take effect.
Should I end this blog on a flowery note? No. (Still resisting!)
You’re the best -Bill
March 02, 2022
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