Adjectives are like accessories.
Coco Chanel once said: “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”
To me, the same applies to adjectives. If you use adjectives as a filler to layer your sentences, it shows. You know it and the reader knows it.
- Learn to self-edit.
- Learn to properly judge when you’re finished–actually finished.
- Learn to spot overwritten sentences.
- Learn self-awareness in your writing.
Not every noun needs to be expounded. Be a poet: each word in a sentence must have meaning and purpose. Don’t over-describe. Don’t be the person at the party with too many necklaces. Take off the pearls and leave them at home.
[Image via Favim.com]
You’ve heard Faulkner say “you must kill all your darlings” and Stephen King say “it’s always easier to kill someone else’s darlings than it is to kill your own”, so how does this help you when it comes time to get out the red pen?
Camilla Gibb, award-winning author of Mouthing the Words and The Beauty of Humanity Movement, recently told the CBC about the harshest thing an editor ever said to her: “‘It’s not the reader’s job to indulge you, Camilla.’ She was specifically referring to a chapter of a manuscript that I had enjoyed writing more than any other chapter. Yowza. Joy killer. And yet, it was probably also the wisest thing an editor ever said.”
When you love a passage or a chapter too much, it shows. It might stick out because it demonstrates a POV that we don’t need, it might introduce new themes that don’t fit in, and however beautifully written the passage is–and the darlings usually are–it needs to be cut.
You’ll know it’s a darling if: Continue reading Less is More: Knowing which passages to cut