Tag Archive: teaching

February 27, 2019 ~ Unpack Your Overstuffed Writing

February 27, 2019 10:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

On The Road

The Other Half (his name is Robert) and I went on a 10-day road trip a few weeks back. We drove from Los Angeles to Moab, Utah where we visited three national parks. (Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef.) Because we drove, we took whatever we wanted with us. His Volvo S60, a four-door sedan, was plenty comfy and roomy. Between the two of us, we must have taken 12 coats or outerwear. All piled on the backseat we almost couldn’t see out the back window. We took equal amounts of other clothing overstuffed into suitcases and duffel bags. The reason for all this overstuffing? It’s February, and we were going to a part of the country that gets quite cold and snows in the winter. Weather we weren’t used to. We wanted to be prepared, and we were unaccustomed to dressing for temps in the 20s and 30s. So we overstuffed.

Lean & Clean. Not All Gummed Up

I’ve now used a version of the idea of overstuffing several times. While on the trip all the excess clothing made me think about overstuffed writing. I know, my mind works in superbly odd ways. Good writing, well-written prose should be lean and sparse. Prose that is overpacked, overfull, overstuffed even, contains an excess amount of words. It has too many adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions. It comes off sounding a bit too colorful and flowery. You want to say (write) as much as you can with (writing) as little as possible. Your words should allow the reader to fill in the blanks, or to use an overused idiom, to read between the lines. Not everything should or needs to be on the page. Your reader is intelligent, and their brain will fill in the missing, not-on-the-page information. My writing rule of thumb is lean and clean not all gummed up. (more…)

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