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Details and the Story

Freelance Writers Night SkyBy Helen Kaiao Chang

A universe of details. Picking them out like stars in the night sky.

That’s what it was like reading a potential client’s draft, as I rewrote it for her. Her journal was like a huge Panavision camera that picked up every random detail of each event. What time it was, how she used to hate her relative, what joke was told, how she got to the place.

All these facts could be critical pieces in a compelling narrative. But in a universe of details, everything gets bogged down. Nothing seems interesting. Nothing is compelling. It’s a primordial soup of existence.

My job was to pick out the salient details and weave them into a compelling story. That’s what non-professional writers hire me to do. But it was a good reminder for my own writing, too.

Don’t get lost in the uninteresting. Don’t give the reader a compendium of facts. Focus on the story and its direction. Add details to enhance the story, not overpower it.

Helen Kaiao Chang is a ghostwriter, editor and journalist, specializing in business and motivational topics. She may be reached at: www.ghostwriter-needed.com

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • I admire your determination, persistence, and ability to spin silk purses out of animal byproducts. I suggest that beginning writers do nothing but two daily haiku for a couple of months, with some editorial mentoring. Haiku teach discipline, conciseness, careful word selection, and, if artfully done, a sense of wonder. Journaling. on the other hand, teaches logorrhea.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

    • Anne

      What a nifty challenge, Jorge.

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