What I learnt this week: Less is more

But with writing, it’s a real art 

I have a tendency to write in a rather verbose style – much like I talk. Why use one word, when it’s so much more satisfying to pepper the sentence with lots more? I guess it comes from the fact that I rarely consider what I say before I open my big mouth and say it.

When it comes to my writing, the words flow onto the keyboard in much the same way they flow out of mouth – with very little conscious thought. It means I’m able to write pretty quickly, which can be a good thing. Sadly it also means much of what I write is … umm … no, I won’t go with rubbish. Let’s say redundant. Superfluous.

Of course I can edit them out later, and I try to do this, but I’m still not as good as I should be.

Here are a couple of examples from the book I’ve just finished editing:

Before:

Quickly she smoothed concealer under her eyes and dabbed on some blusher.

After:

Quickly she smoothed on concealer and added some blusher.

Before:

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jim’s mouth turn up at the edges in the beginnings of a smile.

After:

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jim start to smile.

I think my verbosity (oh, what a fabulous word) is one of the reasons I find it so hard to write short stories. But I need to crack on and do some, because the discipline of removing redundant words and making my writing tighter (umm, probably I didn’t need the last four words there – it’s already implied from the words before, isn’t it?!) … I digress, the discipline will be good for me.

As was trying to answer this question for a recent interview.

Please summarise Too Charming in 20 words or less.

Gulp. Summarise 95,000 words into twenty?!

I got it down to this:

Sexy defence lawyer falls for feisty police detective, wary of handsome charmers. But a murder case forces her to re-evaluate him.

(though I might have cheated with twenty one…)

 

Quick plug: Too Charming is out in paperback from 7th June 2015!

Too Charming paperback

  • Chris Stovell

    Many congratulations on the PB publication of Too Charming! I was taught at school how to précis which has proved a very useful skill, especially during the ‘public sector’ years… but it’s left me constantly editing what I write; consequently I’m a very slow writer!

    • Kathryn Freeman

      Thank you, Chris. You edit as you write, I write quickly – and then have a lot of editing! But at least we get there in the end, Mrs Co-July :-)

  • donna6982@mail.ru

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  • donna6982@mail.ru

    What a brilliant idea you share with us. To gain better knowledge from school your concept work so well. I hope you write more about how to improve communication skill with others.