Monday, March 31, 2014

Story Writing Efficiency

As of this post, I reduced my children story by approximately 10% without eliminating any of the story itself. I didn't realize how incredibly useful the application of a word count would be. I was unsure about where to find lines to cut until I read a helpful quote in my Twitter feed from Kurt Vonnegut: Every story must do one of two things- reveal the character or advance the action."
I took that quote and made it the golden rule of my editing. I didn't want to harm what I considered to be a fairly well written draft but immediately learned what were valuable lines and what were not. I mentioned previously that my children's story rhymed and this aspect turned out to be a major contributor to my high word total. When writing a line, I had to make sure that the subsequent ones would work to create a rational thought.  This led to an over commitment to rhyming.
The lines and stanzas I cut were fun but they did no service practically for the story as a whole. It was nice that I could rhyme and meter and have it makes sense but what good would it be if it only prolonged what I really wanted to happen?
I still have more words to cut, though I am a little more tentative despite my initial success so far because the story is getting leaner and thus becoming harder to find adjustments. Taking up the recommendation of sticking to a 1500 word count has proven worthwhile and it's something I'd recommend to even the most skeptical or proud writer. Hey, I still struggle with it but if it works, it works. And trying to do it with my writing has already made it better.
We'll see how much more I can do. I know that if I can develop story efficiency it will only continue to improve the tale.
I love crashing my way through this venture. It's not always the most immediate gratification but always winds up a fulfilling process. Thanks for visiting

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