A little while back my writer buddy Ian Thomas Malone talked about how we’re taught to cut and cut and cut out so much when writing that we may be hurting ourselves. And I have to say I totally agree. I’m not great with descriptions, so this issue doesn’t generally plague me, but my longer works do have a lot more detail. The longer the story, the more detail I offer. (I need to cut that out and just fucking write)
No one wants to read a long winded dry book, but a lot of us do enjoy a healthy helping of imagery to spark visuals in our minds. I expect to read a lot in a novel, just as novellas should be briefer, and short stories to me don’t need to dig into every little thing. That’s just me, but it does seem to resonate with some others.
I started editing my novel again and I’m having fun. It’s more like reading and tweaking here and there. Depending on who betas for me, it’s too descriptive or not descriptive enough. The people who religiously “cut out the fat” are (you guessed it) the ones who think it’s too descriptive. These are people who read a lot of modern writing.
The ones who say it’s not thick enough are the readers who love the classics. They want more. They’re not reading to breeze through a book and slap a review on goodreads.
I guess I’m a little biased. I don’t read to reach a number, or for shock value. I don’t care about spoilers, I’m there for the ride. Love to connect with the characters, that’s it.
I fear this is going to make it harder for me to break into the mainstream, but I’m not sure if that’s exactly what I want. I don’t know at this point. But I definitely think a lot of editors and publishers are oversimplifying. It’s trendy. It’s modern and new.
I hope it’s just a fad.
We keep cutting things down and there will eventually be nothing left.
It goes hand in hand with the idea of abolishing offensive words. I don’t like to use words that hurt people in general, but we’re hitting a point where a good deal of people are now offended by words that really aren’t meant to hurt anyone, context is always what really matters. If we keep going the way we are, we’ll eventually be back to just communicating through clicks and whistles to keep from offending anyone. But then there are still hand gestures. haha
The point is, we can keep cutting to appease fads and changing lifestyles to try and get people who don’t like reading very much to want to read, or we can write creative works that reflect the human connection and hopefully touch people who actually desire to read.
Of course this is not to be confused with bad writing. But there has to be a balance. Finding that balance is a bitch. I never feel like I have it. But it keeps me working to make sure that I write freely and then adjust along the way.