Friday, May 20, 2011

Between the Lines

My writing students and I have discussed back story blocks many times, yet those paragraphs of info dumps creep into many a good read and we either skip them or put the story down for later. Often, the later never comes. The story had a good plot, interesting characters, sensory setting, hooks and tension, but remains unread, too long on a shelf, and eventually ends up in the library's donation box.

The writer's job when editing, is to get out of the writer's head and look at what's written from the reader's viewpoint. Look at those blocks. Was all that telling necessary? Will those paragraphs move the story or stop it? Take them out. Cut and paste them into a note file. Sprinkle some of the lines in the story as you go along or to remember them might be all that's needed.

If the writer knows the details, the reader will be able to read between the lines.

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