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.