Unnecessary ‘Stage Directions’

A fantastic blog with all kinds of useful advice from an agent. This entry particularly struck a chord as I have to deal with this often in manuscripts as well. So writers, please pay attention.

The Blabbermouth Blog

I’ve been reading a LOT of manuscripts lately, both submissions and from my clients. I’ve noticed a common weakness in writing that is easily remedied. If you want to describe something, just describe it. You don’t have to have your character’s “gaze fall upon” whatever you want to describe. They don’t need to “all of a sudden notice” it. It doesn’t have to “catch their attention.” Believe it or not, I’ve read those exact words in about five different manuscripts this week. Five! The EXACT same words!

Same goes for pondering and thinking. She pondered this. He pondered that. He couldn’t help but think… She thought to herself that… STOP! Most of the time you can just say what it is, without it being your character’s thought. Go ahead, take a look at your manuscript. I’ll wait here…


See? That didn’t take too long. I’m right, aren’t I?! Most of…

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8 thoughts on “Unnecessary ‘Stage Directions’

  1. That is an inspiring aspect that is useful not only for professional writers/agents, but also for ordinary users of English. Plus, as a teacher I find such an insight wonderful. I plan to share it as often as I can.
    Thank you!

  2. Thanks for the reprint. I’m always interested in editor and agent point-of-view. Glad to have your feedback on my posties once again. Looking over your GoodRead updates I’m always amazed how many books you manage to read. You make this Book Booster proud! 🙂

  3. I don’t think any of us can throw stones when it comes to this comment. It’s something that everyone needs to add to their “self-screening” process. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. This post caught my attention, as I signed on this morning, so I selected it, read, then scrolled down and “Liked” it!

    Then I went into the kitchen and made some coffee.

    Great post! I’m afraid to look in my own mss….. :-]

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