Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February #IWSG: Less Is More

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Question of the month: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Before I became a writer, I read for the experience and for pure pleasure. Now, I'm a ninja on a mission, always searching for that elusive "best book ever written." To discover why some novels stand out in an overcrowded book market and why others fall short, I read all the books: the good, the bad, and everything in between. I read in my genre and out of my genre. I read MG, YA, and Adult books.

One element I keep discovering in stellar works of fiction is story subtext. I admire an author who doesn't beat you over the head with every single detail and doesn't explain everything. Readers are intelligent. If a book can pass this simple test, I know right away it's going to be an instant hit.

K.M. Weiland said it best. "Overexplaining in fiction causes flabby sentences, confused metaphors, and condescending descriptions."

Anyone else have a crazy month? Between both of my boys knee deep in their wrestling seasons, and the flu virus flourishing, and finishing edits on my latest MG mystery, I'm ready for summer or a nap.

I read with a much better eye now that I am a writer. How about you? Do you study books in order to become a better writer? K.M. Weiland has written an excellent article on Story Subtext. Go check out her amazing blog for writers!

26 comments:

  1. I absolutely agree that the best books leave things to the reader's imagination. I find these days many writers lean toward over-explaining, but you're right in that some of the best books are those that are a bit open to interpretation.

    IWSG February

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    1. It's like when people try to over explain things. I stop listening.:)

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  2. Now you know the secret! Just write like that.

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    1. I'm writing, er, editing like the wind.

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  3. Yeah, going on and on about something to death never works, I prefer to just go go go.

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  4. I second C.D.'s statement. I read from all genres too. Great stories are everywhere! I'm ready for spring too. The flu has had a hold of our household for too long now!

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    1. Hope it passes your household by in February!

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  5. I also read with much better eyes now that I am a writer. Sometimes my reading becomes mechanical as I am unable to completely immerse myself in another writer's story, as I feel I am analyzing too much.

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    1. I love to be swept away with a good book. It's a lot harder for me to find one nowadays.

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  6. I have to admit explaining things is a tough one for me. I put in hints, and then have CPs prodding me to explain everything. Good luck with your busy week!

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    1. I've heard the saying be clear not clever. Love this! But at the same time we need to be somewhat elusive. It's a tough spot for us writers.

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  7. I've definitely been guilty of overexplaining. Good point! Work has been feeling quite busy lately but I haven't been doing much on the writing front. Good luck to your sons in wrestling.

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  8. Have you read War and Peace yet? I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't read until a few years ago. It was possibly the best book I've ever read.

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    1. Nope. It sounds long. Really?? I did not know that.

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  9. YES. The theme in the end is what really wins me over on a book. It kills me when a book is so good but falls short on the thematic element right at the end.

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    1. I'm trying to get my theme across to the end of my story while trying not to hit my readers over the head with it.

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  10. I wonder if the "best book ever written" even exists. :P

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    1. Um, yes. I have several in mind. Try Jonathan Stroud's series Lockwood & Co.

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  11. So sorry about the flourishing flu! My nephew is into wrestling big time, and my sister is on the go almost nightly with competitions.

    I agree about reading to hone our writing, and especially with reading a variety of genres. Also, readers are intelligent. I write ya and my editors are always telling me to dumb it down. Then I have my daughter who's an English teacher telling me not to dumb it down, that teens, specifically readers are intelligent.
    Great Post!

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  12. Most of my January has been taken up with me getting over the flu, so there was a lot of sleeping and not much writing.

    It took me a while to stop, or at least limit, my over-explaining. I find it more fun to explain than to come up with good dialogue.

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  13. I love when authors can pull off subtext as well. I think I tend to beat the reader over the head with things, at least in first drafts. This is when editing becomes so important for me.

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  14. Right now I'm finding that I learn more from bad books. I hope to be able to learn from good books in the near future.

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  15. I think I read with a better eye as well. And, if I don't care for the style of writing, if a story doesn't "speak" to me, I set the book aside. There are too many others I want to read.

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  16. I've always read for pleasure and I have had to learn to read for the breakdown.
    Happy IWSG Belated Day!
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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November #IWSG: NaNo Time!

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