Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cool Blog Quote: Leaving Stuff Out

"It’s OK to leave stuff out. You have to, because if you don’t, you’ll never get to the real story you want to tell."
  Jane Friedman, It's Okay to Leave Stuff Out. In Fact, It's Better, May 8, 2012

This is a great reminder for me right now, because I'm struggling over how much of my main character's inner thoughts to include as I work on Novel #3. I find myself writing a whole lot of stuff and then going back and cutting most of it out.

What I'm really doing is working out my thoughts on the pages of my novel, not telling the story. Maybe I can't tell the story until I work out my thoughts, but I definitely don't need all that uncertainty spilled out on the page to bore my readers.

I've always thought that it's important to leave stuff out. If everything was on the page, what fun would there be in reading? Part of the fun of reading for me is trying to puzzle out what's going to happen in the story and how the character will solve the problem. The trick is in knowing how much to leave out!


  1. So true. Like many parts of writing it's hard to know what to leave out or if you've left out too much.

  2. I think you've hit the nail right on the head about over-writing because we're trying to get *our* thoughts down. I find that 's especially true of my first few chapters. It's usually just me getting to know the characters.

  3. Internal thoughts can be tricky! I end up having to delete all the repetitive ones! :)

  4. When I was a new writer, I was much wordier than I am now. I had to learn that some of what I was writing was for me -- backstory and character explanation and such -- and that it was good to write it, even okay at the first draft level, but would have to come out after that.

  5. Knowing how much to leave out is good! It can pretty much make or break a story. Definitely a good skill.


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