Dispose of Waffles

I’ve just returned to a first draft of novel and am astounded at the amount of ‘waffling’ I have written. Experience, and wise tutors, all recommend putting aside a manuscript for a few weeks before returning to it with ‘fresh eyes’. My fresh eyes have been assassinated by my over-writing.

Some see ‘waffling’ as padding or filling in words for the sake of upping a word count. But there’s many other ways of waffling on. Rewriting from passive to active will generally save words, i.e. ‘I would have thought that he’d kiss her,’ becomes: ‘I thought he’d kiss her.’ Saves three words and reads much tighter.

Attributions test us. I found a line where I attributed: ‘he gruffs.’ How many times have we been told to not do such things? (Unless absolutely necessary). The speaker’s words should be written in such a manner that implies gruffness.

More superfluous matter: ‘She stood in front of the shop window.’ Why not: ‘She stood before the shop window,’ or, better still, ‘She stood admiring the shop window.’?

Ah, revision. The tense hours of reading and re-writing can be the most productive hours of our writing challenge.

If my 100,000 word novel becomes 90,000, should I be dismayed at ‘losing’ 10,000 words? Never. I should be pleased that I have refined my work into a much better product.

Paige Elizabeth Turner
Paige writes across a variety of genres, but prefers to concentrate on her crime / mystery series featuring Private Investigator Olivia Watts and her Watts Happening? Investigations agency. Also dabbling in poetry, Paige produces emotive verse from romance through to environmental issues. Writing is her lifeblood, but as experienced by many writers, there’s a shortfall of financial nutrients feeding the blood.

5 Responses to “Dispose of Waffles

  • Or ‘She admired the shop window’? If she’s in the street looking at the shop, she’s unlikely to be recumbent.

  • Helen Laycock
    8 months ago

    I enjoy whittling. That’s why I love competitions with word counts; you know how much, or how little, each word matters and the end result ends up a lot sharper as a result of a bit of brutal hacking.

    I love wittering, too.

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