Your reader is intelligent.
It’s very easy to forget when you’re writing. A lot of writers fall into that typical trap, and start relaying every single detail of every single event over and over and over again. They tell the reader the curtains are blue, and proceed to tell them they’re blue five more times on that very same page – you know, just to be sure they got it.
Or they tell the reader that the character gets into their car, only to write something like, ‘In his car, while it was moving, Simon hung a left and slammed his foot to the floor of, you know… his car,’ a few paragraphs down – as if the reader is going to assume he’s walking down the highway.
It adds nothing to the story and builds no clearer pictures in your reader’s head.
If anything, it just insults them.
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Readers Are Smart
Keep this in mind whenever you’re writing.
Once you’ve set a scene or introduced the reader to a new location, it’s very rare that you’ll have to do so again. Once they know where the scene is taking place, and have built an image of this in their head, a reader will follow along with less difficulty than you might think. And thus, the only time you need to attack them with further descriptions of the surrounding area is if the action moves to a new part of it.
Use all the greats as studying guides.
You very rarely see bestselling authors plastering their reader with mounds of description and detail. They just get in, get the job done, and get out again, returning to the scene’s main purpose. They never tell you that the sky is blue twice.
Or at all, for that matter.
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Everyone Has Been There
Even the greats!
When writers first start out, they have a tendency to overdo things in the way of descriptions and repetition. It’s only natural. You have this clear picture in your head – a perfect example of how this scene should look – and you want to do everything you can to ensure the reader sees it too. But guess what? They will regardless.
That’s the beauty of it – readers have awesome imaginations. They’ll always create a clear image of the scene – in most cases – with minimal effort on your part. So long as you give them a good enough taste, the picture will be clear as day. However, scare them off by going on and on and on and on, and they’ll likely close the book so they can massage their temples.
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There are many ways in which writers undermine their readers, and not all of them directly relate to scene/character descriptions. A lot of the time, it’s as simple as some brief repetition – that’s all it takes to put the reader off.
‘They walked into the office, looking around as they entered, eyes seeing lots of computers and technical equipment.
*a few paragraphs later* – (props if you read that in the voice of that French narrator from Spongebob Squarepants)
They walked out of the room, closing the office door behind them.’
First of all, in that first line ‘eyes’ doesn’t need to be there. If they’re looking around, it’s obvious that their eyes will be ‘seeing’ lots of computers etc. They aren’t going to be seeing them through their toes now, are they? You’d be surprised by how many writers make this sort of mistake.
And secondly, in the next part, the word ‘office’ doesn’t need to be there. The reader has already been told that they’re in an office, they don’t need to be told the same on the way out. Trust us, they will remember.
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Cut This From Your Game
And see your writing soar to new heights.
You’d be surprised at just how much your writing can and will improve simply by eliminating these habits from your game. You’ll leave your readers with more freedom and room for exploration, which in turn, will lead to them building clearer pictures of your scenes and characters.
They always say that less is more when it comes to writing. And in this instance, they are very right.
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