Monday, 11 May 2009

Repetition again and the one about whether she's an astronaut or an actress.

Today, I'm sending off the story that I wrote during the Easter holidays. I put it aside for a few weeks and got on with something else. When I went back to the first story I found all sorts of, not exactly errors, but places that needed tightening up. I'm very good at repetition, for example, in this post I have already caught myself having written one three times. There. That's better. Now there are none and instead of three short sentences that I started this paragraph with, there are now two. Previously, I had opened with I'm sending off a story today. The one I wrote during the Easter holidays etc As yet, I don't think in beautiful syntax but I'm working on it.

Another habit I have, is to include unnecessary and distracting information. Not a good idea when writing short stories because the limited word count should force both writer and reader to look inward to the central thrust of the story and not gaze out the window during the journey. In the story I finished this week, I needed my protagonist's wife to be late home so as not to notice his detour into a strip club on his way home. Here's the sentence I wrote: Carrie was doing an evening shift at the warehouse, so wouldn't miss him. It's a perfectly ok sentence but in the redraft when I had to cut a couple of hundred words I got rid of at the warehouse. The point being that Carrie's job was not going to help move Ted's story forward one tiny bit, she could have been an astronaut or an actress. I needed to have some explanation but the slightest would do, especially as in the very next sentence we are in the strip club and suddenly, Carrie's job doesn't interest us at all.


  1. Fascinating analysis. I must say that when I've had to precis peices of writing recently (for press releases etc) I've been remembering those boring 'Use of English' classes at school with renewed affection. Gillian

  2. I so wish I'd paid attention in those classes!