20 April 2011

Short and Sweet

It might seem a little odd (considering that I am desperately trying to make my manuscript a few thousand words longer), but my 'tip' for this week's Writing Wednesday post is to keep things short. Trim, check, cut some more, check again, then give a final trim in fact. Why? Because it seems to me that everyone is in a hurry these days, and if you waffle on for longer than three seconds, you are going to lose your audience.

OK, as someone who is prone to rambling, this seems to be a case of 'do as I say' rather than 'do as I do', but that doesn't mean the advice is pointless. I have reached this conclusion via two separate avenues.

The Possibly Overly Mentioned April A-Z Challenge.

Yes, I succumbed. But I had a cunning plan, oh yes I did. *nods* Not known for regular blogging, I needed to make sure I had a plan of some sort, and this plan turned out to be limericks. Five little lines based on the letter of the day. Definitely one of my finer moments. Bite-sized blog posts which take minutes to write, and even less time to read. The shortness of the posts have made it easier for fellow challengers to read and leave comments. When faced with the daunting task of reading as many blogs as you possibly can every day for a month, it is the shorter posts that will attract you. I can honestly say that I have never received so many comments as I have since this challenge started, and I've almost doubled my followers. Definitely a case of short being very sweet indeed.

Then we have...

The Universally Hated Query Letter.

I've been thinking about my query letter for some time now, but, true to my procrastinating ways, kept putting it off. Now that I'm finally working hard to edit and polish my manuscript, however, I can't really put it off any longer. Again, this is another of those 'the shorter, the better' kind of situations. Your query needs to be clear, catchy, and most importantly, concise (Ooh, I used alliteration without meaning to!). I know this is true, because I've read variations of this sentence on about a gazillion blogs (maybe a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean).

So do we take this 'shorter is better' attitude when it comes to our novels? I mostly think 'yes'. True, there are certain genres that lend themselves very well to, for want of a better term, the long-winded style of writing, but we could all do with learning the talent of trimming what we don't need. My natural tendency to waffle and ramble is at odds with my inclination to write a story in as few words as possible, so I think I definitely over-compensate. But, if I could just find the right balance, I think I might manage this publishing a book thing after all...

Image borrowed from here.


ViolaNut said...

What if I whiffle and waffle and wander and STILL can't come up with enough words? (Don't say novella, please don't...) :-P

Jan Morrison said...

oh yes - you are so on about this! the query letter is making me a crazy person - the synopsis - the insane rules that the convention employs - like we are playing cricket or something. enuff. short, sweet.
or just short.

Jan Morrison said...
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