By guest blogger, Lyndell King
Today while editing dialogue on my most recent story, Mongols at the Gate (a bloodthirsty historical fiction set in the twelfth century) I was tightening my sentences, revising word choices and cutting whole paragraphs to eliminate waffle and to make each character’s voice distinct. This is a necessity for any work intended for publishing, but it’s also a labour of love. I want my reader to enjoy every word, not skip ahead to “the good bits”.
In the middle of editing, I was also dealing with a government department, jumping hoops to get through to speak to a real person, rabbiting back words and typing numbers… and then it hit me like an epiphany. How many hours and words do we spend saying nothing? (Politicians should be considered an out-liar –misspelling intended- in any statistics on this as their empty word quota would surely skew results.) But even without them, empty verbosity is like leprosy to human relationships and defies our overfull schedules and yet, there it is… so called socially ept “pleasant chit chat” wasting our lives one inane sentence at a time. If I edit out all the meaningless words I need to spout every day I could likely write another book or two a year, not to mention save the person listening so much time of feigned attention. Makes you think eh?
So, unless you are a meteorologist, rethink that next discussion about the weather and let your co-worker enjoy their coffee in peaceful, golden silence. Ahhh…
How many of your words today have been grains of valuable truth and insight, and how many were just chaff for the wind to blow away?