Tuesday, January 25, 2011


No, not the band. I honestly don't know if I could name one of their songs. (Makes me sound young, I know.) I'm using the KISS acronym here. Keep It Simple Stupid.

What can I possibly be referring to in reference to writing? A few months ago, I finally finished Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I thought it was wonderfully written. I honestly praise Brandon for his smooth writing ability. However, there was one part in the entire book that I sat there thinking, "Really Brandon, it takes three pages to explain how he goes from one part of the city to another?"

Not to pick on Brandon (Seriously, he's published and I'm not), but my point with this is I got the idea of what was going on in a few paragraphs. I felt like I got the effect after the first page. I understood what he was attempting to do. He was showing us how cool this power is, just how powerful his main character was. I, however, was wondering why it takes this very powerful man three pages to simply cross the town.

Unfortunately, there's a thing about this word 'simple.' What I mean by that is, you do get to expound on it. Showing with your writing means that you're expanding the simple. The simplest thing would be to tell: "And he used magic to cross the city." But I think if you take pages to show us what everyone did during dinner, you may have a problem. However, if dinner is an important event: an argument, a discovery, or something else crucial, then it can take longer. But if nothing important to the story is happening, do what you can to show, but don't go into overdrawn description.

I love description. I'm guilty of being long-winded. During LDStorymakers' Boot Camp in April last year, the first thing that one of my group members said about my book was "Info dump". Yeah, wanted to give up writing and cry. (And then one of the other members of the boot camp group goes on to win awards for her writing. Thanks a lot Julie!) :) My point, however, is that you want to be careful. Keep things simple. Expound what's important. Shorten what isn't. Keep your strategy simple....stupid.

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

1 comment:

Julie Daines said...

"Rock & Roll All Nite" If you're too young for that, at least you should have played it on Rockband!!

T.J., you're awesome. The pressure is on for the conference this year! Maybe we'll be in bootcamp together again.

Nice post. It's easy to get carried away with description and backstory, especially when it's stuff we feel strongly about.