Make Every Word Count!

20141223_140652Get to the point! Have you ever had a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one and thought to your­self, “Get to the point!” What about when you’re read­ing a book? You know what I’m talk­ing about. You are hap­pi­ly read­ing a book and real­ize that the last 5 pages were noth­ing but descrip­tion.  I get it! The forest was big and scary!

If you are any­thing like me, you find your­self skip­ping vol­umes of end­less descrip­tions try­ing to get to the point! While it is nice to know that the trees reach to the heav­ens with out­stretch­es limbs, descrip­tion can be overused. It is like the writer wasn’t sat­is­fied to give the infor­ma­tion but want­ed to go into such detail that the read­er would be able to actu­al­ly smell the fra­grant breezes that drift­ed casu­al­ly through the field.

I call the­se unnec­es­sary words. In writ­ing, it is very easy to use way too many words to describe some­thing. We want the read­er to see it in their mind’s eye with the com­plete­ness that we have. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that can lead to the read­er dis­con­nect­ing. This is a mis­take often made in fic­tion writ­ing but can also hap­pen in non-fic­tion.

There is a fine bal­ance between writ­ing a good sto­ry that the read­er can immerse them­selves in with­out over bur­den­ing them with details that are not nec­es­sary.

This is a prin­ci­ple I was taught when I was a jour­nal­ism stu­dent. Get to the point! Ask the fol­low­ing ques­tions to help you get to the point and weed out fluff that doesn’t need to be there. In Jour­nal­ism we call the­se the 5 W’s and an H. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. With­in that frame­work you will be able to keep your writ­ing on task. I’m not say­ing that describ­ing the vast field of vibrant flow­ers your hero is walk­ing through is not impor­tant. Sim­ply try to get to the point and make every word count!

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