What’s lazy writing? It’s the telling instead of showing. It’s overusing words that add nothing to the sentence and over all the story. It’s the lack of good grammar, or the overuse of grammar. And it’s the throwing around big fancy words when a little one will do.
These are all things that will drive your reader away. They will close the book, put it down and turn the TV on. That book will never get picked up again. But don’t worry, don’t fret. The wonderful thing about writing is that you can always go back and fix by adding in and taking out. Pumping it up with details that will ensare your reader to ensure their continued reading.
First Drafts are where you make all your mistakes. This is just getting down the words onto the page and seeing what you get in the end. First Drafts are all about getting that story out into the world. Stephen King says, “Write with the door closed.” If you’re a parent you might be thinking, “WTF, I can’t even go to the bathroom with the door closed!” Yeah I know it can be hard to find the time to be 100% focused on your writing. But it’s very important to find that time when you can give 100% of yourself. So if you have to get up early or go to bed an hour late, do it. It will make a huge difference in your writing. Constantly having to get up and walk away from work isn’t conducive to good writing. There is just no way to be able to stay in mindset and get any real work done.
Once that First Draft is done celebrate! Pat yourself on the back. Have a drink. You deserve it. First Drafts are so hard to get through. Don’t worry about all the little mistakes or even the big ones. Take some time and walk away from it. You need to get away from it so you can come back with fresh eyes. And so you don’t end up hating your story.
Your Second Draft is where we will go in and fix the spelling, the grammar and any run on sentences that you thought were paragraphs. Here is where you will look for all the lazy habits and get rid of them. As you re-read your story add in any missing details, such as character descriptions, setting details, atmosphere for each scene and any details that will add to the overall plot. If it doesn’t add or keep the story moving along then you don’t need it. Once you got that done go in and delete the word VERY. Its adds nothing, and chances are that your sentences doesn’t need it, or there’s a better way to say it.
Example: Sally is very tired.
Sally is exhausted to the point of collapsing.
Sally’s so tired all she can think about is sleeping in her bed.
Using Very is lazy and vague. How tired is she? The reader has no way of knowing if we don’t show them how the characters are feeling. Notice that I didn’t say TELL, I said SHOW. Readers don’t want to be told, as a reader we want to see it in our mind’s eye. When you tell it, it feels flat. There’s no urgency or emotion to it. We need to find a connection to the reader, do that with your words by showing them. Show them the danger lurking in the dark woods. Show them the characters emotions. Sally’s feeling scared standing in the dark woods alone. Yeah so? As Sally stand in the woods alone she begins to feel vulnerable as the dark spreads out from the trees. The reader now feels what Sally is feeling and if they’ve ever been in the woods lone maybe lost, it will invoke that memory.
When we, as writers, can find that connection to our readers, we hook them. They become invested in the story and that will keep them turning pages.
To help keep those overused words out of your stories I’ll share with you some links and images that will list those unneeded words.
http://www.grammarcheck.net/overused-words-phrases/ (Teachers this link could be used for your students. Teach then early not to overuse these words.)
I found this image a long time ago from a website called Writers Write. They have a Facebook page if you’d like to check them out.
I found this through a google search I have no idea who created it. But I did not make this but I love it! If anyone knows who created this please let me know and I will gladly give them full credit.
Now go write.