Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One Thing At A Time

Stephanie here. I listened to a podcast on Writing Excuses (The Four Principles of Puppetry with Mary Robinette Kowal) that was so good, I actually listened to it several times in a row to absorb it all. The whole thing is brilliant, but this quote really jumped out at me:

As a writer, you can only show the audience one thing at a time ... So what you are having [the reader] focus on needs to be what you want them to think about.
Perhaps this principle struck me because I was drowning in edits at the time, a phase where I'm constantly asking myself, "Is this the best way to say what I'm trying to say?" But after listening to Mary Robinette Kowal talk about this concept of choosing your focus, my mantra with each sentence became, "Is this the best thing to show my reader?"

If you're feeling adventurous, try looking over a page in your manuscript and see if asking yourself that same question changes anything.


  1. This looks like a great thing to do when I do my (third? fourth? I can't keep count, LOL.) round of edits. I've never heard any advice like this before, Mrs. Morrill, so thank you!!

  2. Hmmm....I'll have to give that a try! Chapter one seems to have a lot of problems, maybe this is one of them! Never seen anything like that before!

  3. I love that you listen to writing excuses! I just started listening two weeks ago, but I've listened to almost all of season 10 just mowing my yard (it takes 4 hours+ to mow my yard, so I have the time.)
    This is a great quote, Stephanie!

    ~Sarah Faulkner

  4. I can understand that! I'm learning to make the most of everything I write, to be sure it's important and advances the story-- instead of writing random scenes I think are cool just to fill up a chapter, even though they don't actually do anything for the story as a whole.

  5. I love this advice! I'm in the middle of edits too, so this came at the perfect time.