Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Oops! Are you overwriting?

This piece on Editorial Ass is full of chuckles and good advice:
We need to talk about my editing pet peeve. And, well, to put bluntly, it's not me. It's you.

I know that you think that saying things in a straightforward way is boring. I can tell, having worked through about sixty grueling pages of your writing in the last week. If only your content wasn't so good, I would kick this project away and wash my hands. But curses! Your story is so good. So instead, I need you to work with me a little here.

The thing about your overwriting, Overwriter? I mean, even worse than the fact that it's terrible and embarrassing for you. It's just boring. It's going to be the thing that makes people put your book down and never buy it. I know that in your mind, this language was a good idea. You clearly put a lot of time into stringing together as many adjectives, adverbs, and "replacement" nouns that struck you as interesting. So I'm gonna need you to try to be honest with yourself and flexible with me here.
Read the rest (especially for the list of words to avoid).

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