In my experience, the clearer an author sees a scene the harder it is to write. We (or more accurately I) complicate it with details because heaven forbit it isn’t exactly how I imagined in my head. This ‘over thinking’ leads to word bloat with a side of confused imagery, but every paragraph is a chance to learn, right?
My suggestions are as follows:
- First, write the scene with all the word bloat and confused imagery as you’d like. Writers should flow through their first drafts. Save that bogged down, stress-over-every-sentence-and-scene feeling for edits. But when the time comes, and it will even for me, ask yourself these questions:
- Will my reader get enough visual if I cut this part/sentence out?
- Does this sentence add (insert appropriate emotion here) to the scene or take away from it by being redundant?
And after all is said done…
- Do I feel the way my reader should feel after reading this section?
Am I guaranteeing success with this simple method? Hell no! I have, however, seen it turn two paragraphs of muddled crap into five sentences of intense, fast pace action, and I’ve seen it do this on more than once occasion. I can’t say, with certainty, that it will work for you, but I can say it’s the editing lesson I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Happy (almost) Turkey day!