Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

A Few Words

I’ve wondered if writers who talk a lot are the folks who write long manuscripts. Like those over 100,000 words.

Me? I’m similar to my protagonist, Wendy.  I don’t care to talk much unless I have something of consequence to say (in my opinion). I avoid the phone. I don’t reach out to friends or family regularly, just to chew the fat.

Predictably, my manuscript for Bird Face was only around 35,000 words.  Yet some areas were too wordy, editors said, and I agree with that assessment. Why was the manuscript afflicted so?

Because when I do speak or write, I tend to over explain each point, as though my listener or reader won’t readily absorb this important information. Or I repeat the same thought later in a different way. Or use prepositional phrases when simpler language will do. I am also guilty of using “that” when it isn’t needed for clarification.

I was frightened by the prospect of trimming words from Bird Face. Its word count already bordered the edge of acceptability for its genre. But a little miracle happened. Each time I tightened my writing, other opportunities for improvement and increased word count presented themselves. More action, better dialogue, further character development. Did I finally recognize those needs because the clutter of unnecessary words had been swept away?

I think so.


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