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Write Now: How To Most Effectively Fill That Blank Page

One of the hardest things to do is to start writing a new book. We all know the feeling of writing the first sentence over and over until it feels just right - but then coming back to it on the second and third drafts and changing it.

A dear friend of mine once said that the first draft is written from your heart and the subsequent drafts from your head. I think that's very true. I also feel that while it's easy to just delete a sentence and never see it again, perhaps it would be more pertinent to save it on another document (created just for deleted sentences) - then you might be able to use it for another book - or even in your current project, but elsewhere.

Stephen King in his memoir, On Writing, advise us writers to '...kill our darlings...' meaning that one should get rid of words or sentences that you just love, but which have no place in your book. What he's referring to is over embellishment of words - or 'over-egging the pudding'.

This is the number one topic that writers ask me about. They might have written about a simple walk down a country lane that should have been just one sentence long (if it's irrelevant to the action in any way) - but in their manuscript that stroll would go on for paragraphs. A waste of words like in this example, is completely unnecessary and diverts the reader away from the action.

It really never hurts to trim a manuscript - especially if it starts off at 130,000 words and you want to get it down to 80,000.

Less is definitely more where novels are concerned - and the only exception is the fantasy saga - as readers of that genre love big, weighty books.

Good luck with cutting down on your descriptive text. Here are some beautiful, evenly-weighted sentences from literature, Enjoy!


"She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."

J. D. Salinger, A Girl I Knew

"Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."

Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

"The curves of your lips rewrite history."

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

"How wild it was, to let it be."

Cheryl Strayed, Wild


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