Back to Basics

Posted on March 24, 2009. Filed under: concrete sensory detail, rule of three, talking heads in dialogue |

Sometimes I get so caught up in story and character development that I forget basics. Does this happen to you? I’ll be concentrating on adding more tension to a scene (which is a good thing) but then I’ll realize my last few sentences are all passive or that I’ve written too much or not enough dialogue. While it’s good to see your story globally, don’t forget the advice of Strunk & White: Use concise language. This means forget what your fourth grade teacher (mine too) said about descriptive language. Strive for active verbs, dialogue that advances the story, and clear Concrete Sensory Detail (CSD) but not so much that we forget the action.
Writing Tip for Today: Get out what you wrote in your last session. Circle all the verbs. Change passive (to be) to active. Look for dialogue that goes on and on (Talking Heads Syndrome) and apply the Rule of Three if necessary. Make sure all your description is CSD–but paint with a light touch.

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