can write a book - but it takes something special
to create a best-seller
Lee Masterson's step-by-step guide can show you
Easy Way to Write a Brilliant Novel in 30 Days or
This Proven Success System teaches you to think
about writing from a different perspective.
Finish your novel in only 1-2 hours a day!
If In Doubt, Leave It Out
You probably won't be surprised to learn I read a lot of
unpublished manuscripts. I also read a lot of published
work. Are there some glaring differences between the two?
The fact is most beginning fiction writers write too
much. This is fine and dandy - to be encouraged for a
first draft but when it comes to editing, you'll need to
give that delete key a thorough work out!
Here's some tips on how to cut down on unnecessary
Art of Description
With the advent of global communication and visual media,
we all know what most things and even most places look
like. It's no longer necessary to spend more than a
couple of sentences establishing what things are, where
scenes are set and what the
weather is like, if that's important for mood.
Many readers nowadays will actually skip descriptive
passages because they find them dull and interrupt the
flow of the text. So don't beat yourself up over getting
all the details across - that's what the reader's
imagination is for!
Sometimes we write scenes etc. we're not sure the reader
will understand - so we add extra words to explain
ourselves, resulting in more confusion than clarity. For
instance, look at this:
"With the divorce weighing on his mind, and his
fears about losing his job, John was having difficulty
deciding what to do with himself. Could he face going
out, knowing that Pete would probably spend the evening
ribbing him over his his inability to get along with his
boss and his problems with his estranged wife?"
Clearly this is clumsy and confusing to read. Much better
to remove the qualifiers and simplify:
"The divorce was weighing on his mind - and his
job. Did he want to go out? John wasn't sure. Pete would
probably just want to rib him."
In the above version, even though the propositions are
only loosely defined - the reader still gets it. You
don't always need to explain every little nuance to get a
point or two across. Quite the opposite in fact.
When you write you make a contract with your reader -
whom you must regard as your equal. Not someone who is
slow to understand and needs to be carefully led, shown
everything and generally talked down to.
It's perfectly okay to leave out obvious - and therefore
redundant - details. You don't always have to explain
exactly who said what, what happened where, why and for
Too many new writers clog up their stories with
unnecessary backstory, linking scenes, plot
justifications and long complicated explanations of
things the reader already regards as clear.
If you write with honesty and intelligence, your reader
knows what and who you mean - when you over-explain, you
insult the reader. Don't do it.
Quite often writing suffers because the reader doesn't
know where you're going. They wonder why you're focussing
on certain characters and details - especially when you
haven't first hinted at the 'point' of your story.
When you open a piece, you need a big 'sign' that tells
the reader you're going THIS WAY - so that the reader
knows what to expect along the way. You need to define
your objectives - your purpose - in some way on the first
For instance, if you're writing a murder mystery, don't
spend the first chapter following the protagonist around
doing her laundry. Get on with the story and as soon as
you can, show us the body!
By The Rules
Especially in genre fiction, you have to adhere to
certain rules, because that's what the reader wants.
Horror stories need to be at least a little horrific -
right from the start. Romance requires that you have
lovers at odds with each other by page two. Science
fiction and Fantasy require the elements of their genres
Publishers often say that, though many writers are good,
they often write themselves outside of any given genre in
their desire to be different or original - thereby, alas,
disqualifying themselves from publication!
Of course it's important to be original - but if you can
do that within the confines your reader expects, your
chances of publication skyrocket.
What you're looking for is sharp writing that relays the
facts. When you go back and edit for sense, go for
simplicity rather than exposition. If you waffle on about
the intricacies of conflicting thought processes or
meander through long descriptions of the countryside, you
lose all sense of tension.
Pick up any popular novel. The best ones have no words
that are about writing. They're all about story, however
Okay. Speech tags - you know all the 'he said, she cried,
they exclaimed blah de blah' - I'll keep this advice
simple and precise. Unless you're writing children's
fiction, lose them. As many as you can. It's the way of
the modern writer.
The way to do it is to use other, more subtle ways of
suggesting who is saying what. It's easily done, it just
requires a little thought.
You can refer to character's actions just before or after
dialogue, or use different styles to suggest different
Just as an experiment, try editing out all of the speech
tags from your next MS. I think you'll be surprised
and...master this technique and publishers will love you
Yep - we all know we're not supposed to use them,
particularly after a speech tag. They are most times
redundant and add nothing to the story. Repeat to
yourself three times before bedtime: I will try to edit
out every word that ends in 'ly'!
Well, I could go on like this for hours - 'do this, do
that, don't do that' etc. - I take writing very
seriously, as I'm sure you've guessed. But I hope these
few tips will help you the next time you edit your final
The general rule, by the way, is that at least 20% of
your 'finished' MS is probably surplus to requirements!
And that goes for all of us!
Parnell. All rights reserved.
can visit Rob and read more of his writing tips and great
writer's resources here at http://easywaytowrite.com
Best-Sellers in 3 Years!
Brilliant New Course by Nick Daws will show you
how to write any book in 28 days or less -