May 25, 2012

Unnecessary Writing

When you are writing Chapter Five you are officially submerged in your story. For a mystery, your detective is hip deep in a homicide investigation while also trying to live out his/her life. For a romance, your two characters are acquainted and possibly ruffling each other’s feathers from aggravation and attraction.

Right now, you are writing filling material and small events to build the story, but that does not give you permission to include parts that people would skip just to reach a certain page number or word count.

One thing I find myself skipping when I am reading a book is a bunch of nonsense that I don’t need to know, that has nothing to do with the story line, and won’t help me to understand the main character. I once read a book that detailed the main characters grocery trip to replenish all the things that were lost in a house fire. Though the book was good, I rolled my eyes and skipped whole pages. Such a waste of words!

Another thing that I find myself skipping is heavy details, especially about a room. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to paint an image for the reader, but when you have a page-long paragraph describing a room from floor to ceiling, you’ve written something that a lot of people will skip. You don’t have to furnish the whole room in words. Instead, only include details that are important and paint a clear image of the room in a short and concise paragraph or two.

Think about the books that you have read in the past that you didn’t like. Then write down what irked you about those books and make sure when you are writing that you don’t do any of those things.

QUESTION: What do you tend to skip when you’re reading a book?


  1. Very good post! I hate reading books that have page-long paragraphs where the author just talks about a room. It's boring!!

  2. I've always loved books that gave you a short description then continues to give smaller details as the story and character develop. Personally I find that while long descriptions paint clear pictures I feel that there unneceasary unless your describing something interested or fictional in origin.

    1. I agree with you. I like longer descriptions to have a purpose (for action scenes or world-building). Shorter is best.

      Thanks for your comment! :)