Tip 6: Make every word Count

by richard on April 14, 2011

back cover crop1 300x224 Tip 6: Make every word Count

This post relates to my blog series on the top ten tips to writing a novel. Visit my archives to see the full list, and other relevant postings.

Everything in the book – characters, descriptions, and objects – should have a purpose; otherwise it’s just a distraction.

If you want to make sure your story stays on track, is fast paced, and readable, you must stick to the story line, and make sure everything you write about is there for a purpose. I read a great line somewhere that said if there is a shotgun hanging above the fireplace in the first chapter, it needs to have been fired by the end of the book (sorry, I can’t acknowledge the author!). Every minor character, location, conversation, and object has to have a purpose. Maybe that’s to help paint a person’s character, help them get from one place to another, or set up a twist later in the story, or be the reason your hero is driven to find the murderer.

As you write, make sure the things you are writing about – describing, including in conversations, etc – are there for a reason. Ask yourself – would the reader be confused if this wasn’t in the book? Would the book suffer in some other way? If you can’t answer yes, then pull it out!

Richard Jagger formerly worked in the biotechnology industry, and has completed his first novel “The Cure“. Apart from writing his second novel, he works as a professional photographer. He has had two solo photographic exhibitions and one joint painting exhibition. Further information can be found at www.richardjagger.com

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