Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's Your Number?

You've heard of the sleep number bed. I'm convinced there's a word number book on the horizon.

The best writers make the fewest words go the longest way.


I received a wonderful complement today from someone on one of the writers loops I enjoy: "Your post was oh so simple, yet powerfully said."

Yep. That was it. Made my day. Forget my new haircut, my terrific new lip color, or even the seven pounds I've lost.

Someone took the time to respond to a tiny effort I made to form some thoughts. {sigh}

Dean Koontz is a favorite of mine. Aside from the stories he creates, I love his words -- his ability to draw a scene with a unique twist, using a few, well chosen words. To me, he is a master painter. My husband would rank him much lower on his favorites list -- a few too many words for his taste.

I also enjoy Marcia Muller. She writes sparingly. Her painting style is decidedly different, and although I like her, she's not on my Constantly-Search-For-New-Books radar.

Readers could probably all agree on the exaggerated end of the spectrum, where purple prose gets in the way of the story. Three pages of description would challenge the most patient of us.

But everything else is subjective and tied up with our expectations. I like to be surprised with a turn of phrase. It heightens the pleasure of the story for me.

My husband? "Get on with it, already."

What's your number? On a scale of 1-100 (with "1" representing the instruction sheet that comes with the build-it-yourself furniture from China, and "100" looking profoundly purple), I think I'd be about 35, with my husband pushing 20.

A good rule for writers: do not explain overmuch.


Just beginning: The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters for review.

Kindle update: Downloaded Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by C.J. Box and In For The Kill by John Lutz. Samples I'm considering are: Shadowfires; Mr. Murder; The Taking and By the Light of the Moon all by Dean Koontz, as well as A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley and Breaking Cover by J.D. Rhoades.

It's all better with friends.

1 comment:

  1. I think I would be a little higher on the scale, like a 45 or something. I struggle to find balance between too much and not enough. When it comes to setting, I typically don't put enough in, but when it comes to characters and situations, sometimes I can over-explain or set it up too much. *sigh* One day I'll be a good writer. lol...