Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Achieving "Concision"!

Okay, so "concision" is not a real word, but it works for me. It is the conciseness-related equivalent of "precision".

Anyway, years ago I used to be very adept at writing concisely. At the same time, I also have a tendency (as my blog postings attest) to ramble on ("verbision"). I'm one of those writers who types 100 wpm or more, and who can sit down and hammer out several thousand words before I even notice I've started writing. However, the writing is usually bloated and needs "condension".

As I'm working on the prose right now, I've gone back and rewritten from scratch some of the earlier chapters, and found that I was able to achieve a level of "concision" that has eluded me over the past year.

Last year at this time I was writing the first draft of THE REFLECTING STONE and my chapters, originally intended to run about 5,000 words, were consistently in the neighborhood of 10,000 words. That novel turned out to be 120,000 words long, much longer than the 60,000-word minimum that was my goal. It's not all fluff or wasted words, of course, just a lot more depth than I was intending to get into. I've been struggling to get back into the habit of writing more concisely. Over a year now I've been struggling with this, and finally I seem to have gotten there.

The upside is my word counts are now running only slightly longer than what I set out to achieve for individual scenes. The downside is that I am leaving out a lot of that extra stuff that more words allow me to address. There is substantial rounding out, or "three-dimensionalizing", of the characters when you take more time to delve into their actions, thoughts, memories, etc. A lot of that is lost in these more "condensified" versions of scenes from my current novel.

I want to continue to work in condensed mode, and look for ways to imbue the briefer text with more depth without taking the wordage to do so.

At least, that's the plan.

Still "prosetizing",



Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I'm the opposite. I weigh almost every word and call it a good day when I get 100-150 of them down. The advantage are pretty clean first drafts, the disadvantage is a slow progress - esp. since I keep working on several projects at the same time.

Good luck with your condensing. :)

Adrian Swift said...

My heart goes out to you.

We all have our own best way of working, and as long as we follow that, we do our best work.

I read somewhere the two types of writers are "bleeders" and "speeders".

Both can write great novels.

PS -- Your Roman-themed fiction looks really cool! I love that sort of thing!