“Don’t be too wordy.”
I have actually received this one a lot. While I agree to an extent that maybe it isn’t a good idea to spend three paragraphs describing the color of someone’s eyes, the extent to which this advice is used is not a good approach. I have seen people take out whole chunks of description and explanation to avoid being too wordy. Leaving holes in the story and making me ask too many questions.
People often forget that writing a book is a lot different than a Hollywood movie. We don’t have images to see with our eyes to fill in any gaps. We nee our words to describe the scene, characters, and setting as well as feelings, dialogue etc. A book IS words. And really, this is a style thing more than anything else. Each author has a different style that may be more wordy than the next, but telling someone that they are ‘too wordy,’ isn’t good advice.
How fun is it to read a book that doesn’t set the scene. When a book isn’t wordy enough, I am often wondering, where are we? what does the room look like?
We need to use our words to do our best to give the readers a clear picture of all aspects of the story. They should see what is going on as well as the surroundings.
And to address the stylistic argument here: I will use a for instance from one of my reviewers. Someone said that the descriptions were “too flowery” in my book, London in the Dark. That was stylistic choice on my part. I wanted the book to read in an old-fashioned way that reminded me of books written in the time period the book is actually set in. I don’t mind that the person didn’t enjoy it, my book isn’t for everyone, but that choice was a stylistic one. It doesn’t make it a wrong choice, it is a matter of opinion and style. Some people like it, others don’t.
What about you, do you think the advice “don’t be too wordy” is good advice?
By God’s Grace,