Less is More…

More words count less
Hold fast to the center. Lao Tse


Lao Tse’s words have echoed in my mind for years. As a writer I learned that wordiness hides the story. As a reader I learned that wordiness hides the story. That said, there are a lot of people who’ve reviewed my books there are many reviewers who say my prose is not “descriptive” enough. Others say it’s, “lyrical” and “fast moving.”

One man’s note is another man’s symphony. (Ralph, Muppets)

HOW a person writes a story depends on what the story is. Since I write historical fiction, there’s a fine line between what my readers need to know about the world they enter when they open my book and what the people in the story already know about their world. Memoir, too, though I have found that a little easier to navigate.

I’ve read a memoir for the contest that should have been very interesting, but in the second chapter, suddenly, the author seems to have forgotten that the story is the big deal and begins laborious introductions of family members and their life stories. I was disappointed because I wanted the book to do well. I was talking to the author, “No, please, don’t do this.” But the author HAD done that and would lose any reader there, I think. Even in a memoir, characters are interesting because of what they DO.

I’m not writing anything now and am even pondering what to do with my blog. I enjoyed the couple of days I decided to write short poems in response to the prompt though I was disappointed yesterday when readers didn’t realize I wasn’t writing about The Godfather per se, but about Donald Trump. Or they didn’t and didn’t want to talk about it. That’s OK. I remember spending HOURS in seminars trying to figure out what this or that poet actually meant. Still, perhaps I reached a high level of obscurity in my life’s second ever cinquain and I’m proud to have achieved so much with so little effort.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/02/24/rdp-wednesday-brevity/

17 thoughts on “Less is More…

  1. My novel’s original manuscript came in at 117,00 words. It was published at 101,000. Without my fun, but no-nonsense, editor I don’t think it would ever have been published. Scissors, indeed.

  2. Having read a book last week where I felt the writer used too many adjectives and adverbs, I wrote part of my blog post about this. And then didn’t publish that part because it was a tangent from the main theme of the post. But now you’ve jogged my memory and I’m going to post it — will link back to your post.
    Yes. Yea & Amen. I’ve heard this from writing gurus and now I’m hearing it from art teachers. I painted a flower the other day and then put in a stem and ferny leaves. LOTS of ferny leaves on that one stem. The result looked like a greenish mud puddle. I got the picture –less is indeed more. πŸ™‚

  3. Trump is dead to me. I do not want to think about the dead – they should stay buried! But there are times I write and don’t explain my inspiration nor my intent so that each person can form their own opinions. I don’t know if one way is better than another…

    • The word was Mafia — putting The Godfather and Trump together was the only place I could go. I’m seriously considering not writing any more. I can’t imagine what left I have to say. We’ll see. It’s fun to put it all in a five line poem, though.

  4. Less is more. Maybe that’s why macro photography appeals to me – cutting out the periphery. When looking that close, there is more (does that makes sense?). And, duh, yes…Don in Florida and Mafia…makes perfect sense. That flew right over my muddled head.

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