It’s not the length but the depth

Bigger is not better!

OK folks, get your heads out of the gutter! I am not going down (oops) that path. Let’s not talk about sex for a minute, and shift our focus on manuscripts. As author and writer active on social media, I joined several online groups for authors, initially to promote the book(s) but then I found it quite interesting to read about other authors handling their work in progress, or in writer lingo WIPs.

There are those who are convinced that a novel has to have a gazillion pages and multiplujillions (thanks Uncle Scrooge!) of words to be deemed worthy of publication. NO. NO. NO. Unless your name is Ken Follett and are writing a brilliant historical trilogy like Pillars of the Earth that requires a lot of research, information and several generations of characters, bombarding the reader with obsquatumatillion superfluous adjectives, descriptions and far too many details, is going to turn them off rather than draw them in. (I just love those Uncle Scrooge numbers!)

A good writer will set up the scenario for you, introduce you to well-crafted characters with whom you develop an instant rapport with, or hate from the very start, if that is the intention. The trick, however, is to entice the reader and allow their imagination to do the rest of the work. This will have a much more powerful effect instead of over saturating with details.

My first manuscript was an obscene length that I had to mercilessly chop down and re-write to make it both digestible and enjoyable – well, inasmuch as you can make a book about child trafficking enjoyable. It’s a painful process in the sense that you spent hours and hours agonising over those words (not to mention getting the storyline straight) only to chuck them out. But you want a handsome, well-built, seductive book that will keep the audience chained to the seat and begging for more and drooling over the words each time they turn the page. The relationship between writer and reader should be a passionate, soulful lovemaking and not a wham-bam-thank-you-mam incident. Yes, even for non-fiction. Sounds too kinky? Well that is what writing is all about – a seduction of the mind, teasing of the imagination with a conscious manipulation of words and not just catapulting an obese collation of pages that will be discarded after the first ten minutes!

All writers are authors, but not all author are writers. I’ll let that sink in for now and check back with you another day!

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