Latest novel progress: overwriting is killing me!

February 10, 2009 in Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller

writing2I’m glad to say I’ve still been working on my fantasy novel on a daily basis, and I’m now up to almost 63,000 words!

The plot’s also moving along now – the chase has begun and the protagonist has bumped into an old friend who will soon join the journey.  I’ve also started reveal a bit about the mysterious antagonist’s past.  Things are starting to build momentum and I can’t wait for more unique characters to make their long-awaited appearances.

However, things still aren’t moving as fast as I would like, and I think I’ve finally pinpointed the problem: overwriting!  I’m finding that I have a tendency to want to write down every single little thing that happens, make every conversation play itself out.  Apparently, it’s something that new writers often have trouble with.

According to this editorrr.com article on writing techniques, there are ways to tidy things up.  Here’s also a blog post I found about how to avoid overwriting.  Another article from Homeschool World (WTF?) also discusses the same issue.  The gist seems to be: avoid using adjectives and employ more verbs that encapsulate the adjective you want to use.   And with dialogue, you just have to cut out what’s not necessary to move the plot along or reveal things about the characters.

I must say it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially when you’re trying to write freely.  The last thing you want to do when you are trying to let your imagination flow is to stop to think of the appropriate verb to use instead of an adjective or how to end a conversation earlier than you want to.  For now, I’ll just have to suck it up and keep powering on, and leave the tidying up for the later drafts.