Cheeky, cheeky writer Jenni Wiltz finished a draft and all she could think of is “word bloat!” Who hasn’t been there? But Jenni is not one to sit and ponder for long. After some serious line-editing, she shares her takeaway from this process in an excellent blog post I had to share. What drew me to her site? Her clever tagline:
“They say modern writers need a “platform.” I have plenty of these in the closet, but apparently they aren’t the right kind.”
So, without further ado, here’s Jenni for you 🙂
I just finished the third draft of a book that’s going to take at least five drafts to finish. The biggest problem until now was sheer word bloat. I knew I couldn’t make the additions the book needs until I made a buttload of subtractions. Imagine trying to evaluate the health of a garden when it’s so full of weeds and overgrown shrubbery you can’t see a single stalk or bloom. All you know is there’s an awful lot of green shit underfoot.
To hack away at that green shit, I focused on sentence-level editing. This meant fixing (or deleting) things like:
- Sentences that use imprecise verbs or descriptions
- Sentences that convey the same information in two different ways
- Bloated sentences with filler words like “just,” “only,” “that,” etc.
This is no small task. And a lot of writers never do it.
These days, a popular piece of advice for self-published writers is to PUBLISH AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, LIKE, A MILLION WORDS A YEAR AND IF YOU DON’T NO ONE WILL EVER DISCOVER YOUR WORK LET ALONE BUY IT AND YOU’LL NEVER MAKE A DIME AND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROVE YOU’RE REALLY COMMITTED.
This strategy might work for some people, but I’m not one of them. For starters, I don’t see how it’s possible to publish that quantity of words that have been edited and polished to perfection. As Miracle Max said in The Princess Bride, “You rush a miracle man, you get a rotten miracle.”
For the spot-on examples right from Jenni’s own manuscript, click here for the rest of the article.
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