Friday, September 14, 2007

Pretty Writing

Jenny, Shane and I had a discussion a while back about 'pretty' writing. Not writing about pretty topics, but writing that's pretty to read. The question was how much pretty do we need in what we read and how much do we think we put in our own writing. Some people get impatient with a lot of pretty and just want the author to get to the point. Others feel that bare bones writing is too stark. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

My personal preference is on the high side of pretty. I love getting lost in a wonderful turn of phrase, an evocative description. That's what's fun about reading for me. So I'd like to think that's where my writing is. But in rereading MMG (yes, I'm finally working on Phase 2), I realize that isn't always the case. And I think that's my problem with a lot of the manuscript. I was just writing to get page count and not out of the joy of language. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to get the framework built so you have something to hang the pretty prose on.

Here's where I am with MMG. Some passages that I'm proud of because of the pretty writing will have to go because they don't serve the story. Some scenes that advance the plot like crazy are dull. Once the read-through is done, I'll put the scenes I need to keep in order and write detailed descriptions of scenes that are missing with emphasis on plot. The parts that are cut will be filed away, maybe to be used in future work. Then when I sit down to retype, the emphasis can be on the pretty.

After all, I have to keep in mind that it's the voice that Daniel liked. It needs to be consistent throughout.

1 comment:

Ali said...

Pretty writing is a tough one for me. Most of the time if I'm noticing the writing, I'm out of the story. However, there are also writers who have mastered beautiful language an use it to pull me deeper into the story. It's a fine line.

As far as the pretty writing spectrum goes, overall my taste falls more in line with Hemingway style sparceness. I'm not quite all the way on that side, but closer to it than the middle.