Thursday, April 26, 2012


Or chapter 9 in the book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Here is where they talk about, well, breaking up—or rather how to break up scenes in your novel to get the best results.

Readers nowadays don’t like one-page paragraphs. I know I don’t. If you just have to have them, stick to one or two per book. But what to do with the rest of the book? Break it up, of course. Lots of white space gets readers from one page to another quickly, and hopefully the scene is moving at that same quick pace. Save the slow, thoughtful narration for the one-pager.

So, remember the old adage: Variety is the Spice of Life, for paragraph size. Then remember, Less is More, for dialogue. Have your character say something with as few words as possible. Even in real life, I think, it gets really super irritating when talking to someone and they go on and on and on and simply take forever to say something simple.

Consider this: “I need to go to the grocery store because Jim drank the last of the milk.” Angela hated how Jim always drank the milk and never replaced it.

Or: “We need milk.” Angela scowled. “Jim was here.”

Option #2 says the same thing with fewer words.

Here’s a tip from Self Editing for Fiction Writers: Flip through your manuscript without reading it. Just notice the white space. How much of it is there?

If you have a lot of one-page or half-page paragraphs, edit them and make them more concise.

Tip 2: If one of your scenes seem to drag, try paragraphing a little more often.

Ask yourself if some of it can be told through dialogue.      

I was going to say more, but I’ve decided to take their advice and leave some white space while I go and check my own manuscript. Happy writing!

1 comment:

Anna del C. Dye said...

Tina, great post.
I don't have your email so I was wondering if you could take May 13 or 17 for your post of my book. That will include you in my blog tour and allegeable for the contest of 5 PDF copy of A Royal Elf of Abalon. Let me know if that works for you.

Anna del C. Dye