Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve

Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve
Among other things, I am writing a detective series that takes place in Tokyo. The first novel, "Be Careful What You Ask For," centers on a much-admired Tokyo police inspector being forced to confront his ties to a crime family while investigating a murder in Roppongi.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quick Hits No. 2

A continuation of last week’s post:

Another topic in the conversations I had focusing on writing centered on how the essence of stories are lost in the verbiage the writer wants to use when stringing sentences together.  In other words, the writer knows what he or she wants to write, and the sentences come out beautifully, but the story is hard to find among the finely turned phrases. I think what happens is the writer knows what he or she wants to say but gets caught up "in the moment" of writing and the words get in the way.

 For example, find any recent college or high school graduation story, print or viral, and see if the story includes basic information: name and location of school,  the guest speaker, valedictorian, salutatorian, what was said, how many students graduated -- you name it. Is it a speech story? Depending on the guest speaker, maybe it is. But far too much time was spent trying to come up with different adjectives and adverbs to describe a run-of-the-mill graduation story without getting in the facts, takes far too much time to write, and for the editor, takes far too much to edit.

How does this apply to writing fiction? Ideas tend to grow from the inside out, like dropping a pebble in a pond, and watching the ripples grow larger and larger. But writing is rewriting. It’s like that unruly shrub that needs to be trimmed back. So get some sharp clippers and have it.

Writers love to stand in shade and drop pebbles into ponds. Who doesn’t? But the work of the writer is standing in the sun, hot and thirsty, clipping back the shrubs to make them look like something. It isn’t easy. In fact, a lot of times it just plain sucks. But in the end it’s worth it.

See you next week!

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