Thursday, January 13, 2011

Unneeded Words

Don’t write the stuff that I don’t want to read, or so seems to be the admonition of Nick Harrison’s mom [1]. In what he wrote, he was talking about chapter length. Personally, I think chapter length is a rather arbitrary indicator, but we do need to be careful about writing stuff that people don’t want to read. I think we run into problems because we are trying to fill in the gaps. We aren’t really saying anything interesting, but we’re not willing to stop writing. In part, that could be because we’re looking to fill out a chapter. If our goal is ten pages per chapter and we are four pages in, our temptation will be to keep beating the dead horse until we get our ten pages.

But being willing to end our chapters sooner doesn’t guarantee that we’ll eliminate the stuff people don’t want to read. I’ve seen books with whole chapters that I didn’t want to read. We often feel the need to explain things that don’t need explaining. On that note, I will end this post.