For Wednesday, January 6, 2016:
“Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”
Haruki Murakami, KAFKA ON THE SHORE
Oh boy, am I in trouble. Or maybe I should start this with ‘Hi, I’m Genie, and I’m verbose.’
I suppose it’s a good thing that I know I am so I can watch out for it, but I was reminded once again just how bad it is when I started to read the print-out of the first draft of my new novel-in-progress yesterday. The dialogue parts aren’t bad – in fact, some of them are pretty good, if I do say so myself – but some of the narrative descriptions are beyond-the-pale wordy.
Maybe it’s because I grew up reading William Faulkner and the Bible (some of St. Paul’s writings, especially, are torture to read because they’re so verbose), but I love to go merrily along when I start out. Descriptive narrative is definitely one of my happy places and I have to catch myself so I don’t go on and on.
Maybe, though, this tendency to verbosity is what led me to editing: I had to learn to edit myself.
Rearranging bits and pieces is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, which I enjoy, so that won’t be bad. Adding development and transition arcs requires more thought. I’m still building the puzzle, but I’m closer to the center here, where colors of the same hue and tint blend together. It’s not as cut-and-dried as the edges or the corners, but it’s doable.
Now comes the fun part: determine which narrative pieces belong in this particular puzzle and which don’t fit anywhere. After I finish reading the print-out, I have to rein in my words, shorten my sentences, delete adverbs and adjectives and … gulp … whole paragraphs.
Hopefully I can find my inner artist – she’s in there, I know – and I can reduce those wordy parts. Wish me luck …