Right now, I’m editing my new novel Shame, for the billionth time, and I notice – as I always do when I’m editing – that I’m cutting.
As a writer, you get seduced by words. You want to describe a thing, you want to make people feel it, see it, know it. So you pile on the words. Adjectives, similes, metaphors, adverbs, words upon words. You see what I mean?
And then you come back to read what you’ve written and it becomes obvious. There are too many words. Sure, an adjective, a simile, here and there is nice. What would Shakespeare be without decoration? “When I first saw my Juliet, I thought she was cute.”
It’s like when you get dressed up for a party, and you think (well, this is what I do, anyway), oh, this scarf will look nice, and I’ll just add a bracelet, and that sparkly necklace, or maybe a belt… And then you look in the mirror and you just know you’ve overdone it. They don’t call elegance simple for nothing.
Goodbye, beautiful words. I loved you once, then I killed you!