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Use Only as Many Words as You Need

June 7, 2016

Sometimes when I am writing, I reach a point in the story when there is something I really want to say, but it just doesn’t work. It either messes up the flow or it opens up a whole other can of worms that takes me off topic. This could be confusing to the reader. I have to decide what is absolutely relevant to my story. Just because it’s a clever sentence doesn’t make it vital to the story. This what they mean when say “use as many words as you need and not one more,” but more can be tempting, I admit. Authors like Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, though great storytellers with neat ideas had a habit of being wordy and redundant. They did this, because they were paid by the word. They were good enough writers with interesting stories, so they could get away with it. Authors aren’t paid the way anymore, and no matter how interesting the story, repetitiveness can be irritating to the reader. So it is always a good idea as you reread your story one more time to make sure you are saying what needs to be said in the most efficient and interesting way you can. When there’s something you really want to say, but it just doesn’t work, file it away and maybe you’ll be able to use it later.

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