Monday, November 5, 2012

Less is More is Less is More is Less

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
- Blaise Pascal

I have a bad habit of writing too little and too much.

When writing fiction, I always write too little. I write bare-bones prose, focusing mostly on dialogue and hardly any on description. This habit came mostly from writing short stories and flash fiction, which is pretty much all I've been writing for a while now. In short stories (flash fiction especially) you can't waste a lot of words on description, unless of course that's the point of the story.

But that doesn't work so well for novels, as I've been finding out during NaNoWriMo. In order to reach my daily word count I have to write longer scenes than I usually do, otherwise my story is going to end really quickly. Now, you'd think writing more would be a bad thing - my story will be too wordy! But I've actually found out that my fear of description is totally unwarranted.

Adding more description to the story actually (surprise!) makes the story come alive. I know, obvious, right? But this is something I just haven't done in a while, mostly out of (like I said above) fear of being wordy.

However, when I write blog posts, I always write too much. Some of my shortest posts have the most comments and views (my Avengers posts being the exception.) With blog posts, I guess I just don't know where to stop, which is why I've been trying to keep my recent posts shorter than usual.

Now, of course, I don't want to fall into the trap of saying more or less than I need to say. There's a delicate balance here. And there are conventional word counts for different forms of writing that have to be taken into account. Like NaNoWriMo's 50,000 word count.

But in some areas I know I've been stunting my writing by saying less than I could, and in some ways I've been rambling by saying more than I should, and it's been fascinating to try to find balance while doing NaNoWriMo and blogging. Okay, that's it. There's my whole post in one sentence. I guess I can stop now.

Do you tend to write more or less, or do you generally say everything you need to say, regardless of word count?


  1. A well done description is almost more fun to read then dialog. Of course, some are painful, so there is a good balance. But leaving it all out together can make a story feel empty. I hope you are able to find your balance.

  2. I'm a chatty girl, so I tend to write long posts. I made myself an index card that said "BREVITY" and pinned it to my computer for a while. It really helped. I found that if I tried, I could make an 800 word post a really good, tight 400-500 word post. But it did literally take several years to get there. Not that I'm there yet. I'm also doing NaNo, for my second year, but I find it so much harder than blogging. I tend to edit as I go, so just pouring it out and leaving it there is ULTRA difficult for me. But it's all good exercise, and blogging is about working out my writing muscles, so it's all for the same cause. Now comments is another story...I tend to be very wordy there...
    Thanks for coming by, and it's absolutely OK to laugh about me almost peeing in my pants. That was the point of the story. Humor at my own expense. I have plenty more of those stories already up, and a list of 20 that still need to be written. Yes, I am just that coordinated...
    Tina @ Life is Good



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