Why Your Attention Span Is A Great Excuse For Someone Else’s Failure

I really liked this, some of what I’ve read recently didn’t stick, I got part way through and just wasn’t willing to spend anymore time on it. Tara Sparling states, “We’ve developed new and necessary survival skills in the Information Age, and it suits some authors brilliantly, as much as it makes others cry into their gruel. There are winners and losers in every cultural shift, and not always for reasons immediately apparent to mere mortals.” I agree wholeheartedly.

Tara Sparling writes

I wasn’t well last week, and ended up feeling dreadfully sorry for myself. Now, there’s nothing on earth can feel quite as sorry for itself as an Irish woman, so it can get quite dark. Anyhoo, as I lay prostrate, bemoaning the state of both my health and my immediate prospects, my lamentations eventually began to transfer themselves to the world outside as well.

And it’s a dark world, lads and lassies. Society is broken. Rent asunder by social media, reality television, celebrity gossip and cat memes. As a race, we have developed the attention span of a hungover goldfish. We can’t concentrate on anything longer than a Buzzfeed article called 21 Things Only People Who Wore Purple Underpants In 1991 Will Understand. And nobody reads full novels anymore.

My last post on e-book reading statistics – the fact that we now have access to better statistics not only on what books people are buying…

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Show or Tell – Word choices and the debate between wordy and descriptive

In reading some of the critiques I’ve received from folks, I am working on honing my story craft.  I tend toward too much rather than concise.  Still, I’m getting a bit of the “show” them what’s happening, rather than “tell” them.” I try to think through that when I’m putting together a story but I still end up on the tell side of the street. Not that I’m concise in my word usage… LOL. I think I am not using the right language. I re-read my paragraphs and they feel too heavy. I pared them down and then I feel like I loose depth.  I get back the depth and my reading scale scores go too high (that’s the reading ease score that equates to grade level reading).  Trying to keep the balance has me paralyzed so I throw all the rules out and just write and the story wanders off track. Frustration.

In researching writing style, I came across a well crafted article in the “Wordiness” debate for fiction writers. This is written by AJ Humpage, an established UK author with 25 years in the biz. why-being-wordy-isnt-sin.  She also has a marvelous blog post on Word Choice.

I want to find a balance between descriptive and too wordy.  Where, oh where, is the middle ground? How do you know if you’ve just bored or entranced your reader? How do you world build without burdening the reader with too much description? How do you create interesting fiction and maintain a mid-range reading ease score?

How long is long enough?

So, a writing prompt I picked up in my 100 list has morphed into something more than a quick exercise in creativity. I decided to look into the current thinking on story length as this is something that changes. I found a few good articles these two stood out as solid:
http://indianareview.org/2013/02/when-is-a-short-story-too-long/

http://allisonbetancourt.com/how-long-should-your-story-be-a-short-guide-to-story-lengths/

It looks like this little exercise has become a Novelette.  How fun! I liked the comments about keeping the cut scenes rather than deleting them. I often have rabbit trails that seem to have value but end up not fitting well in the story. I’ll keep them now and see where they go on their own.