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Assumptions about the Character

Charlie looked at Loweena and said to her, “Sounds like Maxie’s lawyering up.”

This is a painful sentence to someone looking for the minimum explanation to go with the maximum story. That’s pretty much all readers. Some may not get why this is painful, but it is painful nonetheless.

When writing, keep in mind that when you’re in any character’s POV, there are assumptions the reader makes about the characters actions and condition, and there’s no need to fill prose with explanations of what the reader already knows.

Charlie’s about to speak to Loweena. It is less common to speak to someone while not looking at them; the reader expects that if Charlie’s speaking to Loweena, he’s most likely looking at her as well. (This is part of my Reader Template way of describing the psychology involved.) We can also get rid of the “to her” bit, for the same reason.

In this case, moving the remaining bits of the dialogue tag to the end of the sentence would work.

“Sounds like Maxie’s lawyering up” Charlie said to Loweena. 

Four words edited out of thirteen in one sentence. Imagine a story trimmed of 1/3 the excess, then replaced with better prose. That’s how to edit, and how to write.

Looking for more tips? Here’s what’s up so far. More to come!

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