As an author, I’ve come to learn some (most likely not all) of my shortcomings in the way I tell stories. Because I’m a pantser, they can sometimes be too episodic, and I rewrite to deal with that. While a lot of readers like the page-turner nature of my narrative style, some wish out loud that I would linger a little more here and there and give more depth to characters. I work on it, but it’s hard—you do have to listen to your own inner ear.
As an editor, I encounter both storytelling and writing shortcomings. Here are just a few:
- too much description
- not enough description
- description that isn’t experiential
- dialogue with no beats
- overuse of descriptive dialogue tags that explain unnecessarily
- info-dumping of backstory and exposition
- too many adverbs modifying verbs when a strong verb would be better description
- starting way too early in the story
- overwriting—minute details that don’t advance story or character
- lack of line editing to make the narrative crisp with strong forward movement sentence by sentence
- including material readers “need” to know that they really don’t
- delaying having things happen for set-up
I’m sure that if I went through my edits I’d find more, but you get the idea.
So what do you wrestle with in your storytelling and writing? What are the alleged shortcomings that your beta readers and critique groups tell you?
Please use comments to share with me—you might provoke a few new posts on craft if I think I can help.
And if you see a problem that you have a solution for, please let me know.
© 2013 Ray Rhamey