Motivation Monday: Stop Explaining EVERYTHING

So I’m on the Internet an awful lot. Specifically, I’m on writers’ forums, writing blogs, writers’ social media communities an awful lot. What what I notice from time to time (okay, very often) is some writers doing a lot more work than they have to be doing. Instead, consider this insight from David Sedaris. 

IntoIt_DavidSedarisOne of the coolest things about blogging is that readers bring their entire lives—all their stuff, all their feelings, all their experiences—into every word that you write. The things that people have shared with me as a result of this blog, in comments and more, have been the best part of the whole journey.

What does this mean to you?

Frequently, writers—even business writers—rely too much on their own powers of description to make sure their reader pictures every scene, every movement, every action with the exact details that they’ve decided on. They’re worried that readers won’t “get” what they’re trying to say any other way.

Less is more. Maybe a little less description—just one important detail, maybe two—lets the reader have some breathing room. They can bring their own stuff into the world you’re creating, which helps make it more memorable and enjoyable for them. Imprecise description lets them mold some details in the image of their own lives, identify with and relate to your story more, and ultimately, like your book better.

Bonus: Being a little less wordy with the details means you can spend less energy describing stuff and more energy finishing stuff! And who doesn’t like that?

  • http://www.heartofkadi.com/ Kadi @ heartofkadi

    Great advice and an important reminder.. thank you!

  • Byron Edgington

    Good advice, as usual. As for details in writing, Stephen King says essentially the same thing: give readers enough to allow them to fill in, don’t give them ‘an instruction manual on how to build it.’ Part of the attraction in fiction is to bring our own experience into whatever we read. Keep it coming, Shanan.

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