How long are your paragraphs?

And the hemline for this season will be…???

Who the flip knows. Or cares! And to some degree that goes for your paragraphs too. Your writing style is your writing style. But, in the same way that I like my revision letters to be bullet pointed because:

* I can tick each point off as I work my way through the manuscript

* I can see at a glance what needs to be done

* I, like you, live such a busy life, I neither have time to stuff a mushroom, nor wade through page after page of subjective opinion, that frankly needs some serious editing.

I suspect that page after page of subjective opinion may be another way of saying – not to me, but to a rookie editor’s PTB – look how hard I’m working – look at all these pages of thoughts. Or it could be laziness – give a vague opinion, but lots of it, rather than be specific as to exactly where the story fell down and why.

I would prefern a flat: this book doesnt work. Followed by: for the following reasons, bullet-pointed, of course!

But… a good editor like a good reviewer, is a pearl beyond price. And, yep, you guessed it: deserving of another Blog!

As a reader, I don’t want to wade through great chunks of text, so why would I write them?  And yes, I am still sometimes asked to consider breaking up a long paragraph by the excellent editors I’m lucky enough to work with now. I don’t have some special magic touch that allows me to get everything right first time. I have only known 2 authors in my life who have that magic touch, and I ain’t one of them.

How to change up an overly long paragraph?

Consider whether those lengthy thoughts might be better delivered as dialogue? Now you’ve got immediate action, which is far more gripping than indigestible globs of introspection. Give it a go at least, and see if it works for you. Be visual as welll as literary when you tell a story. How does your story ‘look’ on the page…?

And now I have to consider how my toenails look. It is Saturday, after all! So I’m off to get the hooves filed and the shopping in, so I can work on my most excellent revisions next week. And, yes, I honestly feel excited about working in collaboration with my editor to produce a better book for you, rather than the brain-numbing sense of dread I have sometimes felt in the past.

As with everything else in life, ladies, don’t accept second best. Fight for what you know is right, whether that be getting your hemline just right, those paragraphs snappy, and so addictive you have to read on, or making sure that those working on your book actually know what they’re doing.

No second best for us. Ever.

Have a great Saturday with those you love,

Love Susan xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *