Thursday, November 6, 2008

Skip The Boring Stuff

“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” from Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.
Yesterday’s post dealt with involving the reader in the story. Today’s quote also speaks to the reader, but how do I know what the reader is going to skip? Once I send a story out for critique, I set it aside for at least a week -- more often two -- before revisiting it and any comments I receive. This offers me the opportunity to take a fresh look at both. I try not to take reviews personally, but it’s hard sometimes. By letting them sit for a while, it gives me the opportunity to get over my negative feelings, which then allows me to better appreciate the reviewers’ comments. What does all this have to do with today’s quote? There have been times when I returned to a story and found myself losing interest at certain points. If this happens to me, I can assume my readers will do the same. That’s the clue that tells me to either rewrite the section or get rid of it. As I said in an earlier post, I don’t want to give my readers the opportunity to stop before they get to the end.

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