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A Brief Writing Experiment

By Lynn Hobbs

Learning new writing methods can be rewarding. I noticed several men writing a tighter style, and it did get my attention.
They mentioned more white space on a page drew readers from a younger generation.
What were they doing?
What happened?
Not any back story. Later in the book it could be introduced, but only a small part.
I have great respect for all three male writers. Each is well known, and I listen to their words of wisdom through blogs, newsletters, and writing conferences.
They happen to be men. So far, I have not noticed any female writers adopting this new style.

I was taught to delete extra words or unnecessary words. Who, what, where, when, and why should be near the beginning. The five senses should be used as often as possible. Don’t use many exclamation marks. Show your story, don’t tell it, and always continue to learn the writing craft. We learn from each other. That being said, I kept an open mind, and considered the new tighter writing style.

In their observation of the younger generation, it was pointed out that text messaging and tweeting were the norm. This generation of new readers and aspiring writers are not familiar with long flowing stories. They don’t have time for long stories. Their writing cuts through the chase and gets to the point.

Do we want them as potential readers to our genre?
Defiantly.
Can we accommodate them without losing our own style of writing?
Our voice?
I believe we can.

Yes, I do text and tweet messages. I tried incorporating texting and tweeting into my style of writing, and it felt awkward. What a challenge! I decided to experiment and rewrite the first chapter of my new book using some of this method.
My first chapter went from eighteen pages to a total of twelve pages. I tightened more and deleted a lot. Final page count for my first chapter: six pages.
Did I lose any important information?
No.
I spaced it out.
I didn’t give away details.
I saved them for later.
I wrote short sentences like I’m doing now.
Brief.
Short and sweet.
One on top of the other.
It built suspense.
It created pages readers turned fast.

My paragraphs were what I refer to as normal. In between some of the paragraphs I’d branch out and sprinkle in a few short sentences.
More white space was created on the page as well as momentum. I have to admit I enjoyed locating the perfect spot to insert a few short sentences. Of course, I had already written the chapter, so it was more of an editing experience than a writing one for me.

Dialogue took on a whole new snappy approach.
Example:
Steve pivoted. “You leaving?”
“Why?”
“I thought…”
Stepping forward, Kate frowned. “Don’t assume.”

I usually don’t use a lot of tags but it worked for this example.
That’s the whole point.
Try something new.
It may work.
Happy writing!

Hidden CreekLynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek, 1st place, Religious Fiction 2015, TAA.
Lillie, A Motherless Child, 1st place Biography 2016, TAA.
You can find Lynn on her website at http://www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com, Facebook and Twitter
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3 Responses to A Brief Writing Experiment

  1. Lynn, this is true. When I first started writing I thought complete sentences were a must until Jerry Jenkins critiqued a few pages of my first chapter. He said I wrote like a girl. Men don’t talk in complete sentences. Light bulb moment!! I text a lot since I have twelve grandchildren, so this alone has helped me …get to the point.

  2. Love the Freudian typo!: “Do we want them as potential readers to our genre?
    Defiantly..” LOL! (Sometimes I want to strangle the autocorrect!)

    I agree totally on experimenting and stretching ourselves. I have to keep kicking myself to remember, just write! Make it a novel later.

    And I remember Jerry Jenkins saying he’ll never write in complete sentences. Ever. Me neither.

  3. Patricia S says:

    I write lean and fast paced but not as much as the above paragraphs. Good job.