Are You an Over-writer or an Under-writer? Revision Tips
|You want people to say this about your draft!|
Over-writers: If you're an over-writer, you like to explain to readers that your character feels sad, then you like to show your character feeling sad, and then just in case your reader hasn't picked up on it yet, you like to have the character actually say, "I'm so sad!"
It's not that you don't trust your readers; it's that you have a lot of ideas about your novel and your characters, and you want to make sure that your readers have those same ideas. Nothing is left up for interpretation! Besides the above example, over-writing can occur when we describe something not that important to the plot for three paragraphs because we love writing description, or when a character goes through a horrifying experience, which the reader reads about, and then the character re-tells the entire story for the reader to read again. Many, many of us are guilty of over-writing. If beta readers or critique group members are telling you that your pace is slow, you're probably a victim of over-writing.
Under-writers: If you're an under-writer, then you're afraid that your reader is too smart, and so you are constantly worried you are giving too many hints about your plot or main character. Therefore, your first draft is really hard to follow because you leave holes. You don't give enough clues or details or information for anyone to follow the story, so at least you accomplished what you set out to do--you didn't give too much information and make your plot predictable. But no one can understand it. Your readers are smart, of course, but remember the reason why the clue or detail seems so obvious to you: You are making up the story; you know what's going to happen; and you know what your characters are capable of. This is where beta readers and critique group members can help you again--if they're telling you that they're confused--listen to them. You may be under-writing. If you find yourself explaining your plot to someone who's read your first chapter, then look for the holes and plug them up!
So, writing is hard. We all know that. But which writer are you when you're working on a draft? An under-writer or an over-writer? If you know yourself and your "issues," then it will be easier to revise your story and make your readers happy!
photo by Enokson http://www.flickr.com
FINDING MY PLACE:ONE GIRL'S STRENGTH AT VICKSBURG. She also teaches children's and YA novel writing and short fiction online classes for WOW! To find out more, visit: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/WOWclasses.html.