Avoiding Waffle

Well, today I hit 75 000 words in my current manuscript. That’s three quarters the way through. I am very happy to be finally looking home stretch in the face. Got a bit of research to get through though before I can write the final chapters.
Research, in my opinion, is both tedious and interesting. When you know nothing about a subject, it can sometimes be quite daunting in the beginning when you usually find out exactly how many questions you have. But I think once you’ve cracked the shell of the egg, so to speak, you can really get into the good stuff and find yourself immersed in a subject.
My first port of call is usually the internet. Then newspapers, dvds or media if it’s applicable or available. Third step is talking to people with experience in that area or visiting the place of interest. My last research source will be the library for a physical book. But if I’ve gathered enough fodder along the way, I usually won’t even make it there.
I tend to focus on the human interest aspect of topics rather than the facts. Facts are always the first thing to be cut by editors and critique partners alike. Why? Because they’re boring and are usually given the highly technical term : “waffle.” In, “The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots,” I spent a lot of time with my husband, (who is lawyer) getting the court case exactly right. Who stands where, who says what, what they say, what they wear, what the room looks like, or the formalities that barristers go through when they stand up in court and argue- particularly the descriptive legal language they use. My critique partners did the first slash and then my editor almost abolished the rest because it just didn’t move the story forward. In fact, I just got bogged down by the temptation to show off my knowledge. Big writing tip here : don’t do it!
I’m not saying it’s okay to get things wrong. But I wouldn’t bother spending paragraphs explaining why something is the way it is, if it’s not absolutely pertinent to the plot. Even if it’s really interesting to you!
I know for myself that when I get to that sort of a point in a book where the author goes off on a tangent about some aspect of the setting or an interesting but unimportant element of the main character’s occupation, I just skim till I get back to the story content.
That aside though, I do plan to enjoy my week of research before jumping back into fiction.
Wish me luck.

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2 thoughts on “Avoiding Waffle

  1. Great advice Loretta! From a readers perspective there is such a thing as too much information 🙂

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