Which style of writing is best?
June 29, 2006 2:42 PM Subscribe
HelpMyWritingFilter: Am I overthinking or do I actually need these extra words of clarification when it comes to writing fiction?
posted by Chorus to Writing & Language (41 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I've recently become aware of an awful [IMHO] habit I seem to have acquired of sacrificing a brevity-style of writing and reworking sentences so they have little "extra" words to help the reader. Confused yet? The examples below are the first paragraph of a fantasy novel - Exhibtion A is what I wrote originally and was initially happy with, B is what I expanded it to upon revision. In my heart I don't feel like I NEED those extra words - but yet I feel obliged to put them in for the sake of the reader [or judging editor], to aid their understanding.
Druzy clutched the vial, its contents still hot. She crouched in the undergrowth, breath ragged, never taking her eyes from the mansion beyond. Sentries scurried about its courtyards in search of her, and – she had to squint through the dusk to make sure – yes, they made immediately for the stables. Torches increasingly lit the gloom. Now she could make out the family members hurrying to follow.
She retreated into the treeline as adrenaline jangled her body. “Steady,” Druzy whispered, controlling her breathing. Her hands shook and she forced herself to calm down.
“Have I done it?” She lifted the vial, hearing its contents slosh. Though it was night, there was no mistaking the white fluid. A smile curled the side of her face.
Druzy clutched the vial close to her chest, its contents still warm, spreading through the glass to her palm. She crouched lower in the undergrowth, breath ragged, never taking her eyes from the mansion beyond the rise. Sentries scurried about the courtyards and – she had to squint through the dusk to make sure – yes, they made immediately for the stables. Torches increasingly lit the gloom and now she could make out the white‑robed family members hurrying out to follow.
She retreated further into the treeline and clapped her hand to her forhead as adrenaline jangled her body. “Steady, steady,” Druzy whispered, attempting to control her breathing. Her hands shook from excitement and she forced herself to calm down.
“Have I really done it?” She lifted the vial, hearing its contents sloshing about. Even though it was night, there was no mistaking the precious white fluid. A proud smile curled one side of her face.
Yes, yes, they're minute changes/tweaks at best, but they're really beginning to bother me and stall my daily writing. I know I need help from people who know what they're doing and won't sugarcoat advice. I've read nearly every style guide out there, so I'm just asking for the hive mind's opinion on style - I don't care if you like the actual [fantasy] content or not. I've heard the usual guidance of "Zomg join a critique group/buy book XYZ /etc" all before and have followed it as best I can.
So penultimately, are those words needed or am I fine without?