Use It or Lose It

22 Jan

When it comes to writing fiction, “use it or lose it” is a rule  that holds a position of prominence. Especially in romance novels, and even more particularly erotic romance, it is imperative that you don’t take the reader so far away from the heat that she starts thinking about doing the dishes.

We all do some research in the process of writing. The trick is to recognize the vital bits versus the padding. If a town can be summed up by saying its only claim to fame is that it is the home of the second larget ball of string in the state, you’ve drawn a pretty clear picture for your reader. Don’t use a page to describe every detail of it, even if you have a huge collection of notes from when you visited there.

It gets even worse when a writer researches a fascinating subject to get a few accurate details about her heroine’s career. The more interesting the discovery, the harder it is to NOT include it. After all, wouldn’t everyone want to know about such and such? Perhaps, but not if it slows down the pace of the tale. If it is not needed to move the story forward, explain the plot or offer an essential character trait, LOSE IT!

My personal method of dealing with extraneous material is to write everything in then deal with deleting after the manuscript is completed. If you have any other suggestions for keeping your novel lean, please share.

Happy Writing,

Marilyn Campbell

2 Responses to “Use It or Lose It”

  1. shannonemmel January 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I have tons of reseasch in files for various books in progress. out of all those pages of information, there are a few dozen facts that at first seem unrelated but then common threads appear here and there and voila!

    The foundation for a story takes shape and from there, all the unrelated bits come together and everything simply falls into place.

    God I love it when a plan come together!

    (…and I love research! )

    Great post, Marilyn and great advice!


  2. anny cook January 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Whereas, I love those little details and wish more authors added them in. That’s exactly what I love about Elizabeth Lowell’s books. The details.

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