Is Your Writing Tight? where we discussed ways to trim our prose for clean, crisp writing. We had a vibrant conversation going with comments sharing advice such as use concise verbs and simple verb tenses, watch for passive writing, cut the unnecessary, and carefully kill adverbs and adjectives. Great stuff, all.
Comments also addressed another view. One author said we can cut till words become too dry. Good point. We don't want our writing to lack life, becoming parched and blowing away like ashes in the wind, now do we?
This author went on to say that every word needs to be present for a reason. I believe she's right, and concur with other comments that pointed out how sometimes extra content is necessary, particularly in fiction's dialogue and description.
Pondering further, I considered additional occasions, such as a friendly column, conversational article, or blog post. One's style and personality is often reflected best with an assortment of well chosen words, ones that might otherwise be weeded out for different projects. Interestingly, while still in my musing mode, I ran across this post, To Make a Long Story Short, which highlights Jennifer Brown Banks' take on the subject. Do great minds think alike or what? :D
My take on tight writing is influenced by several factors. As a writing instructor, for example, I'm ever on the lookout for redundancies like free gift or past history, and places where words might carefully be tweaked for better results. As a fiction writer, I aim for an interesting tapestry that brings a story to life. Smart writers, I believe, live, write, and learn, and find the right fit for each scenario.
So it's a balance, is it not? What factors influence your writing habits? How do you keep both sides of the coin polished?
Have a great weekend,
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