Of course you know the basic rules of fiction. Of course you don’t drag it down by telling instead of showing, or using weak verbs or passive voice. I’ll write about each of those eventually, but Kristen Lamb just put up a great post I’d like to share.
Every writing offense she mentions falls under her Deadly Sin #7 from the title: Treating the Reader Like a Moron. Most of our writerly goofs can fall under that heading – if we’ve done our job as writers well, readers already know that a character is angry or nervous or hurried. They don’t need the weight of adverbs and exclamation points as well.
My favorite part is Kristen’s description of editing: “Editors are like engineers. We look at a writer’s race car (the manuscript) and look for parts that will cause drag, slow down momentum, or cause so much friction that a fiery crash or a dead engine is inevitable. The Seven Deadly Sins are designed to make sure your plot is sleek, fast and unstoppable until the finish line.”
Editing for aerodynamics somehow seems more elegant, more noble than just cutting out all the clunkers. (And yes, Kristen, I know I used italics, but it wasn’t for emphasis. I swear.)
Anyway, for a good read and invaluable advice, head over to Kristen Lamb’s Blog “Deadly Sin of Writing #7–Treating the Reader Like a Moron.”
Then come back here and share the before/after of a sentence or paragraph that you edited to sleekness!