I obviously haven’t been in blog-land much lately. I’ve been editing my WIP and frankly, if I follow much more of the (good) writing advice/models I’ve been reading lately, there won’t be much of the damn thing left for anyone else to read.
Hint Fiction (props to Merrilee Faber for the heads-up on this book, featuring one of her stories) arrived in the same Amazon shipment as Elizabeth George’s book on writing, which I promptly discarded in favor of this little gem. The book design and layout rock along with the content.
According to editor Robert Swartwood, hint fiction is built on the idea that “the very best storytelling was the kind where the writer and reader meet halfway, the writer only painting fifty percent of the picture and forcing the reader to fill in the rest. That way, the reader truly becomes engaged in the process.”
Each of the 125 Hint Fiction stories has, at most, 25 words. A lot of the stories are dark, and the best ones are very dark. I don’t know if that’s an artifact of the form itself or of the editor’s taste. But each one tells a full story and draws the reader in, sometimes farther than I wanted to go. There’s way more emotional depth than I thought possible with so few words.
Hint Fiction is a must-read if you want to see how some writers make every word count. Phew.
So I hit my manuscript with a red pen and started deleting those excess words.
Then, I read Every Word Matters on David Kazzie’s blog, The Corner. Basically he reminds you that every word matters, only he uses a couple more words than that and an example from the movie version of No Country for Old Men. David is the mastermind behind the So You Want to Write a Novel/So You Want to Go to Law School videos and he’s a pretty funny writer.
So I hit my manuscript again with a red pen and started deleting some more of those words that don’t matter.
His blog post How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) is awesomely brilliant, so you should read it. I can’t pick a favorite part, so I’ll just go with the tenth thing that nobody told him:
10. Creativity is subtraction.
It’s often what an artist chooses to leave out that makes the art interesting. What isn’t shown vs. what is… Creativity isn’t just the things we chose to put in, it’s also the things we chose to leave out.
So I’m hitting my manuscript again, maybe with a black marker this time.
If there’s anything left.