November 30, 2010 | By: Tracy

Overwriting: A/K/A Exceptionally Prolific & Verbose Prose

Before I get to the actual point of my post, I want to take a second to Fan-Girl squee . . .Only 7 more days until Last Sacrifice (final chapter in the Vampire Academy series) is released.  Booyah!!  (edit: you'd think someone who was squeeing wouldn't type the wrong title)

Okay, I swear, it’s out of my system now.


Okay, no really, I’m done.

*focus, Tracy, focus*


That’s the number one complaint we hear from editors, agents, fellow writers & sometimes even ourselves. They say the fastest way to kill a great idea is to overwrite it.

What they don't do is tell us a surefire way to spot when we're doing it.

It’s not always about using an abundance of adverbs & adjectives, or spending too much time describing the scenery. Sometimes we try so hard to put a fresh new spin on things we create convoluted sentences that would sound much better if we simplified them.

I wish I had some steadfast rule to dole out on how to avoid going overboard, but I can be just as guilty as the next person. I’ve only found, for me, one tried and true method for detecting when my writing crosses the line into too much.

I read it out loud . . . and if I start sounding like a stand-in for the movie trailer voice-over guy, odds are good I've run into some serious overwriting. No lie.

In a world where Tracy tries to drum up too much drama, in a time fraught with good thoughts that fall short of reaching their potential, only one thing stands in her way. . . Over-Writing.

8 witty remarks:

Jessica Bell said...

Oh gosh, someone shoot me now. GUILTY!

Candyland said...

I second that. I KNOW I overwrite...meh.

Summer said...

Oh yes. Writing a pure, simple sentence will always be a million times more difficult than layers of word fluff.

And HELL YEAH on Last Sacrifice! I've got it pre-ordered and can't wait!! Eeee!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Double squee for FS. :D

I don't know, I kind of like your overwritten sentence. ;)

I usually discover mine after giving the ms some distance and reading it out aloud (which I usually do while editing anyway).

And the answer to your question on my blog is yes. My daughter (now 6) is happy like that all of the time. A complete contrast to my 8 yo son who is grumble most of the time.

Ben said...

It's a hard balance to keep between crushing minimalism and overwriting. It's part of the challenge I guess.

Matthew Rush said...

This is so tough because I LOVE to read books with beautiful, detailed descriptions, but apparently you can't get away with it in a debut novel. ARGH!

Terry Towery said...

This is one of the few things about my writing that I feel fairly confident about. Sometimes, though, I worry my writing is too straightforward, too simple. It comes from my journalism training, I suspect.

Terry Towery said...

Oh, I just gave you an award on my blog. Lucky you. :)

Post a Comment