Sunday, May 11, 2014

Efficient Writing

When I was at my first-ever writing conference last month, an editor and agent asked me if my novel New Pangaea had "sharp dialogue". I wasn't exactly sure what she meant, but I assumed it had to do with being efficient with the dialogue; avoiding unnecessary dialogue and using it to carry the story, in other words.
This idea of efficiency had me thinking about the way that I speak and act and how I am as a (real life) character. Overall, I am a fairly efficient person in many aspects of my life. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I'm not entirely certain, but it does make shopping a lot quicker and easier. Take, for example, my mission to find Mother's Day cards for my mother and grandmother last week. A quick scan of the pink and flowery Mother's Day section let me eliminate all of the ones that played music, allowed personal voice recording, were 3D, covered in 20 pounds of glitter, waterproof, glow-in-the-dark or edible. (If I had the money, I would spend $1,000 on my mother, but a card for $5.99? That's just ridiculous, and she would agree.) Another glance and I eliminated all of the ones with cartoon characters, kittens, and overly mushy sentiment. Within 20 seconds, I had efficiently narrowed down my selection to about 5 choices. Then, I merely had to pick the one I liked best for the best price. It took all of 1 minute. That's usually how my shopping trips go. Unless I have to try on things like jeans or shoes...there's a reason I don't like shopping for those...
While looking back through my completed novel this weekend, making final edits per recommendation of the professionals at the conference, I kept this idea of efficiency in mind. With that word pounding in my brain, I hope my characters' voices are unique, to-the-point, and entertaining, as I've had fun getting to know all of my characters, including Claire in the latest work, Hometown Girl. If you haven't already, feel free to check it out on the Latest Work page. You're welcome to provide feedback, as well.