Less is More!

I just glanced at a old book by Carson McCullers (Member of the Wedding) and I noted that it was only 179 pages long. I got through my childhood by escaping through reading so the joy of the written word was instilled in me from an early age. I am still a voracious reader.

But I was once in a library where all the old fiction classics were gathered together and I noted how very “thin” they were compared to modern novels. There is a reason for that, and therein may lie a lesson for modern writers.

In the “olden days” writing was far more difficult technically than it is today. Take for instance, the Old Man himself, Ernest Hemingway. Like many other writers of his era Hemingway (I call him Ernie) wrote in long hand on a legal pad. Then that went to a typist who typed out his work. Then back to Ernie for corrections, and back to the typist for a rewrite. And this tedious process went on and on until the final manuscript was sent to his publisher where it had to be re-typed perhaps a number of times before it went to the type setter for printing.

And that is primarily why the older fiction is shorter. Because it was a time-consuming labor intensive job to get a novel out. Today, with word processors, all that effort is bypassed. However, the very process that made early novels generally shorter forced the writer to be succinct and less wordy than modern authors. There is a lot to be said for “Less is More.” You might keep that in mind when you are editing your current novel.

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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