Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tip of the Day- Less is More

Even Seuss says so: "The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads."

I think this is especially true of picture books. Take a look at your manuscript. Is every word necessary? Are there places where you can cut? Can you replace three words with one better word?

For more picture book tips, read Margot Finke's article, So You Want to Write a Picture Book?

15 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ha! I'm reminded of the comment in "Amadeus" to Mozart that there are too many notes.
It's such a special place we must find where we haven't hurried and been too sparse or haven't lingered beyond our welcome and said too much.

Lazy Writer said...

I struggle with this. I'm actually trying to cut out words right now. Wish me luck!

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, good luck. If it's a PB, I can help! Send me a manuscript any time. If it's a novel, I am pretty useless.

storyqueen said...

I love this Dr. Seuss quote! It is a challenge, most of the time, striking that balance between not enough and too much.

I think that is one of the hardest things about writing picture books.

Shelley

Kelly H-Y said...

So, so true ... and often hard to do when you're so attached to those words! :-)

Lisa and Laura said...

And here we are ADDING words in our revisions. Ugh.

Stephanie Faris said...

Good advice! I write young adult and it's a challenge for me to keep the words to an absolute minimum. Keep it simple, stupid! That's what I tell myself constantly.

Corey Schwartz said...

Well, I was speaking mainly to PB writers, but I have read novels that could have easily been cut by 100 pages!

Rebecca said...

Cutting can be so hard, even painful!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Oh, you're making me nervous! I've been adding words in my latest revision...yikes!

Tess said...

one of my new favorite quotes is:

I used to think every word that managed to squeeze itself from my pen was immortal. Turns out they are all disposable.

I have the source somewhere in this messy office...wait...nope, can't find it. anyway, it's a good one :D

Suzanne said...

I just read something that said a good revision changed or removed every, single word of the first draft. I don't know about all that, but my revision cut 10,000 words without any harm to the story. Yikes!

Shelli said...

its hard. I have huge respect for PB authors. Only 300 words? really? :)

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, Suzanne, that's interesting! I don't know if I agree, but I am going to ponder that for a while.

BJW said...

I love that quote from "Amadeus" Tricia. "There's just too many notes. Just cut a few."

"Which ones should I cut your majesty?" Or something like that. My dad and I say this to each other all the time.

Great post again Corey. Nice discussion too.