Three Tips for Wordy Writers

Wordsworth, the Wordy Weasel

Are you a Wordy Writer?

I am.

Want proof? Scan my past posts. Many are l-o-n-g. Too long.

Wordy writing is one of Twelve Troublemakers that plague me as a writer. I’m exploring one a week. This is the eighth in the series.

Three Tips for Wordy Writers

Admit you’re a member of the Wordy Writers Club. Naming a problem is the first step toward conquering it.

Be willing to ask for help. Recognizing wordy writing can be difficult for those of us who don’t write tight. We can invite others, such as critique partners, to point out places in our stories where we’ve said too much.

Cut the excess. We Wordy Writers need to make friends with our delete keys. Getting rid of our painstakingly crafted words can be tough. I console myself with two thoughts:

  1. Cutting gets easier with practice.
  2. There are many more words where those I cut came from.

On Wednesday, I’ll share a list of Weasel Words, those pesky little critters that wiggle their way into our stories but add no value.

Your Thoughts . . . and a Drawing

Are you a Wordy Writer? If so, how do you deal with it?

If you’re not a Wordy Writer, what tips can you offer those of us who are?

One person who leaves a comment will win the weasel pictured above. If you don’t have a use for this cute little Folkmanis finger puppet, you could always share it with a child or grandchild. Plus, I’ll add a surprise for you.

I’ll include the winner’s name in my Monday, April 4th post, when I introduce the next of the Twelve Troublemakers.

Rigid, the Rules-obsessed Raccoon from last Monday’s post goes to Lacie Nezbeth.

Odds of winning vary based on number of entrants.
I’ll ship to U.S. and Canadian addresses only.
Offer void where prohibited.

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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18 Responses to Three Tips for Wordy Writers

  1. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    It depends on what I am writing. When I write an article for a newspaper or something on a science forum I use to visit, I write short and straight to the point, the essential.
    But when I write a story or a poetry, I tend to dance and fly and swing around and let my mind mingle with the words, and then I write more than I should. And have quite a hard time to delete a part of it later….
    I could write a lot more on this topic right now…haha, but I better stop….

  2. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    Hmmmm….. can´t find the “delete” button on my keyboard…… 😛

    Anyone can help me please? If not I`ll have to go on writing and writing….words, words and more words……

  3. Yes, I am a wordy writer. Whenever I write, I must go back and delete much of the text, reorganize what’s left, and delete again. Why can’t I just do it right the first time? Blessings to you…

  4. territiffany says:

    No, I’m not a wordy writer– just a wordy speaker!! LOL Talk to me in person and I will go on and on!

  5. Beth Vogt says:

    Wordy Writer? Nope.
    Why not?
    Journalism degree + the title editor + a deep respect for word counts = writer of few words
    Respect your readers’ time and realize you’re not the only writer they’re reading. Start small. Laser in on words like “that,” “but,” “just,” and “really.” Then go through what you’ve written and delete repeated words or phrases.

  6. Wendy says:

    I’m getting better at this. I don’t always wait until I sit to edit to start changing sentences because I’m getting a better feel if they run long or if I’ve inserted needless words.

    Heard this once: Never use two words when one does the job.
    ~ Wendy

  7. Martina Bedregal Calderón says:

    I only start reading a story I wrote again when I have finished it, and then I often find double words and repetitions in one or in following sentences and delete them.

    Beth Vogt, your advice is great! 🙂

  8. susanmartinsmiller says:

    When I listen to audio books, I hear the clutter even more than I see it on the page. When I’m reading I can scan past what distracts me. When I’m listening, I have to wait for it to be over. That makes me determined not to write passages that tempt readers to hit fast forward.

  9. Gina Conroy says:

    Didn’t think I was too wordy until I had to cut my WIP from 56,000 down to 20,000! I’m currently at 28,900 and boy have I learned A LOT. Just wrote a post on what I learned while editing the other day!

  10. Yes, I am a wordy writer. Can you tell I’m practicing to be concise here?

    Cut, cut, cut, is the only way I know to fix my problem. It’s painful at first, but then when I reread I’m so impressed with myself. That’s what keeps me cutting!

  11. Lori Benton says:

    Wordiness is my besetting writing sin. After cutting a 325,000 manuscript to its current 127,000 (and still cutting), I’ve learned a thing or two about being ruthless with my words (and scenes). I think it will always be painful, cutting past a certain stage for the sake of word count limits, but most of the time cutting strengthens the work. Not all the time, however. I’ve run across a few spots in the manuscript where I’d previous cut so much I was jarred out of the story by jagged, choppy prose. It’s a balance between line-by-line cutting and tighter storytelling. If I can just get my head around tighter storytelling, there wouldn’t be such a huge need for stripping the prose down to bloody bare bones.

  12. I tend to write short, but boy, I’m a wordy talker. 😉

    Best with your move to this blog, and all else you have going on, Keli!

  13. I tend to write short, but boy, I’m a wordy talker. 😉

    Best with your move to this blog location, and all else you have going on, Keli!

  14. Tamika says:

    I’m one wordy woman! I guess that’s why writing is so much fun to me:) I’m free to talk until my heart is content. My characters are extensions of all the buzz going on in my brain.

  15. Please put my name on the membership list of the Wordy Writers Club!;) This post certainly applies to me *sigh*. ~ What works best for me is cutting the words after I’ve written a good bit of my story. And, I HAVE to be in the “right frame of mind” to do it! In other words, I must be ruthless and force myself to even cut out segments of the story that I really liked and had spent time on….IF it doesn’t really add to the storyline. It was difficult for me to do this at first, but over time I’m getting better. ~ Cute weasel! 🙂

  16. Julie Chyna says:

    I think I have the opposite problem–years of corporate writing has made me too succinct! I want to get right to the point, rather than taking the time to set a scene or create a mood. That’s what I have to work on the most.

  17. erin says:

    Hi Keli! I came by to say thanks for the skunk (which my kids loved) and the magnet/paper and you have another contest! But don’t enter me this time… let someone else win! And, I’m like Julia Chyna and just the opposite of a wordy writer… I’ve been writing for web for so long that I’m all about short and sweet… I have to force myself to add more detail. Of course, I’m obviously not TOO succinct since my book is almost 100,000 words. 🙂

  18. Sherrinda says:

    I’m not a wordy writer. In fact, I have been told I need more description, more inner dialogue, more introspection! lol Funny, huh? I would probably make a better screenwriter! 😉

    So here’s to making me wordier!

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