Know When to Quit!

I’ve been writing “stuff” for many years. Even so, sometimes I forget the basics. I am working on final drafts of my next Adventure/Thriller novel and that will take several months. I expect it to be published in the spring or early summer of 2014. As I was working on it, I had reached about two-hundred and thirty-some pages. And, I thought, this is just not quite long enough. I need to add a chapter or two to make it longer.

So I pondered that for quite awhile. I kept reading it, and reading it and trying to see where I could add some material. And then, a basic precept of writing good fiction hit me squarely between the eyes. And, what puzzles me is that I didn’t think of it before. I’ve known it for years and have always practiced it.

Here it is: A story takes as long as it takes. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But there is hardly a rule of writing fiction that is more important.

You see, I’ve known forever (it seems) that I will never be known as a great writer. But I would like to someday be remembered as a good “story teller.” And a story takes just as long as it takes to tell it, but no more.

One of the most often read criticism I see of reviews of books on Amazon is that the author seemed to insert a lot of “filler.” That really is a poor and unprofessional practice. Remember what Elmore Leonard said, “I write the book, then I take out the parts the reader won’t read.” That is some advice to take to heart. When you are writing, tell the story—then quit. Your readers will be grateful.

About johnbeckmanbooks

John Beckman, a retired meteorologist, was known as “Johnny the Weatherman” in a career that spanned forty years. He forecasted the weather on WSJS-TV in Winston-Salem, NC, at WFGA-TV in Jacksonville, FL, and for thirty-three years in Atlanta at WSB-TV and WXIA-TV. Also a well published author Beckman now devotes full time to writing fiction. He currently has several eBooks on Amazon.com, "Tropical Knights," first in a series of adventure/mysteries about a sailor and his lovely CIA cohort on a mission to save America. Now available the sequel, and second in the series: "Tropical Daze." The third Jack & Amy adventure is "Tropical Rage" which became available on 30 April 2014. All of his books are highlighted on http://johnbeckmanbooks.com and available from Amazon.com. . .
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