Needless Words

While Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series are generally good reads, my main criticism is that he spends an excess amount of time explaining simple ideas. Then he'll continue to review those same ideas again and again through the story. I believe that his novels may have been much faster paced and fluid if he had not repeated the same information time and again.

On a different note, I was browsing through the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award message boards the other day, thinking that I might submit something next year. There was one submitter who was over the maximum word count of 125,000 by something like 20,000 words. The person was able to go in and cut the needed material in a short period of time to make the submission deadline. In my mind, I congratulated that person for being able to cut into their work so rapidly, as sometimes I find it hard to modify single sentences. On the other hand, I wondered exactly what that extra 20,000 words pertained to. Why was it there to begin with, if it was so easily excised from the novel? I obviously don't know the details, and the material may have been an entire subplot that added depth to the story.

The point: My friend Russell forwarded me some quotes by famous authors a year and a half ago, and they've stuck with me ever since. While I believe them all to be important, the first pertains to the paragraphs above.

"Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the action." Kurt Vonnegut

"Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." Kurt Vonnegut

"Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs." Ernest Hemingway

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." -Anton Chekhov