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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