Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cutting the Fat

There's something to be said for excess. Too much of anything is bad for you. You can drown from too much water, exercise to the point your body breaks down, and eat until you die, whether from rupturing your stomach or getting a disease caused by carrying way too much weight.

That fear in mind, I'm going to the gym this morning. And I know it's going to be painful. See the picture to the left? This is what I see when I think about exercising. It's a hurdle, because that damn doughnut never goes away.

But in order to get healthy and trim some fat, I'm upping my routine from sitting and chewing to actively walking, running, and taking classes.  I'll exercise to get lean, to cut away the excess and get rid of my unhealthy habits. (Cue segue...)

Kind of like trimming those LY words, those annoying adverbs that take the place of strong verbs. Or unnecessary words like really, very, and actually.  If you can read the sentence without those words and it still makes sense, is it really necessary? (Note the irony of this really.)

It's not easy to work out. Once I get back on the wagon, I'm good. But getting there sucks. Drinking more water, eating less sugar, maintaining a healthy lifestyle--total trial. Sitting all day writing for a living is not conducive to good muscle tone and blood flow. So it's a struggle to tell myself that getting in shape is just as important as getting in six to eight  hours of solid writing.

Deleting superfluous words and lengthy passages that do nothing for the story but sound pretty is just as vital.  That's one of my big problems with reading literary fiction. It's supposed to be all artistic and flowery, and I get bogged down in descriptions and run-on sentences just to read about a man walking his dog. Please. What's wrong with "He walked his dog"? 

To that I say, trim the fat. Get rid of the wordiness. I don't write literary fiction. I don't intend to. It's not my thing, just as others don't like romance. No biggie. But when I'm reading my genre, and I find the same burdensome pages, I want to tear my hair out. Keep to the plot, stay true to the characters, and stop overachieving. Write the damn book for the audience, not to show everyone you know a few three dollar words. My two cents for the day.*

*As I write this, I'm still envisioning that doughnut and praying I'll still be able to walk when my workout is done. Wish me luck.


Samantha Storm said...

sesquipedalophobia ;-)

Marie Harte said...

Had to look it up. Fear of long words... Anyone ever told you you need help? ha