Monday, April 18, 2011

Moday's Writing Tip: Arrive Late, Leave Early


"Too many words..."
"Figure out what the action of the scene is going to be, or what its thrust is, and then start writing just a fraction before the action begins." Robert Masello, Robert's Rules of Writing, Rule 42: Make an Entrance

If you haven't guessed, Masello's Robert's Rules of Writing is one of my favorite craft books.  It's a small work jam packed with excellent advice!

I'm currently revising a WIP, and this rule reminds me that I don't need to fill up scenes with lots of superfluous information. 

Masello uses the example of a scene that takes place in a lecture hall.  Is it really necessary to show the students filing in, the professor straightening his notes at the podium, then clearing his throat and beginning the lecture?

Absolutely not!  If the oncoming conflict is an argument that takes place between the protagonist and the professor, that results in the protagonist getting kicked out of school, focus on that.

Masello says, "If that's what the scene is about, if that's what moves the action of your story forward, then come in just before the argument flares up and out of control.  And once the expulsion is given, end the scene...Lingering in that lecture hall will only dilute the power of the confrontation."

In closing, get to the point, and know when to quit.  Rambling and meandering is okay in a first draft, but while revising, cut what's possible so the reader won't be bored!

8 comments:

GigglesandGuns said...

I really liked the way you condensed this important information. You made it easy to remember.

Old Kitty said...

Thanks for a succint and very important reminder to get to the point and to not waffle!!! Thank you! Take care
x

Sophia Richardson said...

Good point, I can see having to trim the intro and outro of plenty of scenes in revision.
- Sophia.

William Kendall said...

Excellent point, Maria!

Saumya said...

Great advice that I need to keep in mind during revisions!

Andy said...

I'm finding that a lot when going back over stuff I wrote many moons ago.
Solid advice as always, Maria. Thanks for sharing.

Myne Whitman said...

Useful advice, I was wondering where the title was going, LOL..

The Desert Rocks said...

Great advice. I'm revising so I'll keep this in mind.