“Less” Really is “More” (on Revising)

by Michael Kinch on May 4, 2012

I’ve just finished revising Book-3 of my BLENDING TIME trilogy (working title: THE REBELS OF NEW SUN). One of the things I noticed (besides typos) was that it is so easy to write too much, that is, to hit the reader over the head with a point. Here’s one example of before and after revision:

Draft: [Segela speaking} "I can tell you the information you need, or give you the map I sketched this morning."

[D'Shay] “I’ll take the map. I know it’s a risk to get caught with a map of G-T facilities, but I’m not great with spoken directions.”

WEAK! D’Shay is telling us stuff that is unnecessary and messy. In my revision I have D’Shay reply to Segela:

The map will be great.” 

There’s no need to add the stuff about the danger to himself and the greater mission.. By the time the reader gets this far, it is obvious there is danger, and saying he’s not great with spoken directions doesn’t add a thing. Neither does the fact that she sketched it this morning.

Bottom line: Remember the reader has a brain. Let him/her use it!

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