Thursday, January 15, 2015

Words Count

I recently review Michael Kechula's new book, “Writing 100-Word Stories (Drabbles) for Magazines and Contests – A Self Study Tutorial.” Reading this book reminded me of the importance of words. In Drabbles, word count is key, but to keep withing the 100 word limit, each word must count. There is no spare space to use adjectives or adverbs to modify a noun or verb that is almost but not quite perfect.

In novels and short stories, word count is less important, but finding the right word to enhance the story is still desirable. When you're writing longer fiction, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking a long paragraph of description does the job a single perfect word would accomplish in less space.

While many writers don't want to write short fiction of 100 words or less. It's still important to realize that the perfect word can enhance the reader's appreciation of the description. Many readers are not interested in plowing through pages of description when a few well chosen words would do the job.

Another aspect of finding the right word is eliminating unnecessary words. Unnecessary words include the adjectives and adverbs used to modify nouns and verbs that are almost perfect. An example is using 'really' to modify what you're proposing. It's a word that may make you feel better because you're trying to communicate the way you 'really' feel, but the strong words in the sentence should accomplish that without help.

Even if you're not interested in writing short fiction, I recommend Michael's book. The 165 exercises at the end will give you practice in eliminating unnecessary words and make you think about what you are trying to say.