The bare bones approach

One of the problems of being wordy is that you often become… well… a little too wordy. Why take three words, when ten will add so much more depth and meaning?

I actually think that I have the opposite problem. In my former life I was a lawyer – a role that brings with it so much legal jargon and so many unnecessary words that I rebelled. I became a fan of the Plain English Campaign, and left my ‘hereinbefore mentioned’s’ behind me.

I think that it was a good move so far as my clients were concerned, but I sometimes get the feeling that I have taken it too far and my literary writing would benefit from a bit more description than I apply at the moment. When it comes to my novel, I seem to be taking a ‘bare bones’ approach, getting the ideas and story-line down, with the intention of going back and adding in more colour later.

I’m hoping that this will work out in my favour, as I’ve always had the impression that, when it comes to Teen Fiction/Young Adult books, less is actually more. Too much description will turn many young readers off and care must be taken to balance it against the pace of your story.

But even so, I think my latest venture might be a step too far: I’ve started doing the Scottish Book Trust’s monthly 50 word fiction competition. How bare can bones actually get?

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