Less is More

I just finished reading a blog post by Martha Kennedy with this same title. She starts out with a terse bit of editing wisdom from author Truman Capote: “I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.”

I heartily agree with what she says. Less is more. Author Jerry Jenkins stresses this over and over in his writing course: “Don’t use two adjectives; one is enough. Better yet, choose a stronger action verb.” Adverbs have similarly fallen out of style, I hear.

Mark Twain once gave wannabe writers similar advice, with a wry wit in the delivery: “When you see an adjective, kill it.”

Awhile back I read a book that reminded me of his quip. A good story, but the author seems to over-use adjectives and adverbs, often as a way to pat characters on the back.
– Jill generously gave him a huge slice of pie.
– Jack unselfishly offered to drive them to the mall.
– He appreciated Jill’s considerate offer to look after his sister.
– Jack sighed appreciatively after Jill’s extremely satisfying dinner.
– Jill admired Jack’s dashing good looks.
– Jack’s humble way of suggesting…
– Jack found Jill extremely attractive.
– Jack’s unstinting effort to find the owner pleased Jill immensely.

Get my point?

These seasonings are okay when lightly sprinkled through the book, and I like stories about kind, thoughtful people. However, if superlatives appear too often it can sound like the writer’s trying to impress on forgetful readers what a wonderful, thoughtful, generous character this is. I don’t have to be told twenty times that the hero is smart, generous, and handsome or gorgeous. Perversely, this inclines me to dislike Mr/Ms goodie-two-shoes.

No matter what you’re saying about your characters’ qualities, more than three or four times is overkill. Don’t try to sneak them past the reader by embellishing their wonderful acts, either. Let the reader decide if that your character’s a keeper.

Cheery Thoughts

The Word of the Day Challenge this morning was CHEERY

Earlier today my husband directed me to another blogger’s post, “Last year’s Wisdom” and I enjoyed reading it. Here’s the link. I hope you’ll all take a few minutes to read these wise, cheerful, and inspiring words.

When I was asked if I’d like to play host for the Sunday prompts at Ragtag Daily Prompt, I started a list of interesting possible prompt words. And, being a lover of words, I’ve kept on adding to it until I now have several years’ worth of possible prompts. Now that I’m not doing the prompts anymore, I’ll just toss one of these words into my posts now and then.

One of the words on my list was INEFFECTIVE. Alas, I soon discovered that prompt words should be amenable to photo bloggers as well as poets and storytellers — and it may be hard to illustrate INEFFECTIVE in a photo. But I’ll have a crack at it. (Image from Pixabay.)

George meant well, but his attempts to help on moving day were rather ineffective.

A Fond Adieu

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is ADIEU
Word of the Day Challenge: DISAPPOINTED

Back at the beginning of Dec 2019 I became one of the prompt hosts for the Ragtag Daily Prompt effort. So I’ve done it for a year and two months, really enjoyed coming up with word as prompts, working with fellow RDP hosts, checking out all the responses, and leaving comments where I could. It’s been challenging, enjoyable, and I’ve “met” a number of other writers this way.

Now I’ve chosen the prompt word ADIEU because I’m handing the reins back to GGM, or “Gizzylaw,” the host I took over from. I’m ready to let it go and I hear she’s missed the interaction and is eager to get back at it.

My day was Sunday, and while we’re self-isolating most Sundays, I had time to read and comment on most of the responses. Now I’m looking ahead to the day when we’ll be interacting regularly with fellow church members and visiting in homes again on Sundays. I’m also giving this task to Gizzy because I have other things I should, and want, to do. I’m only disappointed that there aren’t more days in each week, so I could fit in everything I should and want to do!

I think all of you are likewise hoping that life and activities will soon return to normal. I hope we’re not disappointed when that day comes, learning that we must continue to be super-careful of germs & viruses. I commented to someone that I’d be glad when we can ditch these masks, and she replied that the sure have cut down on the number of colds and regular ‘flu’s being spread. True, but…we need smiles, too!

Anyway, when I first was accepted as one of the prompters, I was so enthused I made a long list of possible prompt words — and I’ve been adding to that list ever since. So I’ll be choosing one now and then and working it into a post, just for fun.

And of course there are various other writing prompts I may take part in. In addition to the Ragtag Daily Prompt and the Word of the Day (links above), there’s also Sheryl’s Your Daily Word, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge or The Sunday Whirl, where we’re given a number of words to work into a post, or Sammi’s weekend writing prompt. This weekend her word is BEGUILE and the word limit is 51.

And now, ADIEU for today. 🙂

Writing Prompt Responses

I’ve just read a couple of interesting articles and ensuing comments re: Writing prompts. Tanya at Salted Caramel asks in a recent post if her readers like responding to writing prompts. It’s an interesting article and generated a number of comments. Read it HERE.

Several bloggers have mentioned recently how they prefer it when posts aren’t too long and comments are brief (because there are often a couple dozen to read through.) One blogger says he rarely writes posts over 200 words. “Experience has taught me that the longer the tale, the fewer the readers.” Generally speaking, that’s true. So much is being offered on the internet smorgasbord that only the most interested or devoted readers will take the time to read long posts. I tend to skim through longer posts; I see from comments that other bloggers do, too.

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt today is HEALTH, a topic one could go on and on about these days, but I will heed the admonitions and keep it brief. Apart from the aches and pains of arthritis, I’m in fairly good health, thank you. 🙂

A couple of hours ago I looked out the window and saw that a jet had left a trail across our sky. From all appearances, that jet was NOT in the best of HEALTH. I quickly sat down and wrote a limerick about it:

The jet that flew over, belching,
must not be too healthy, poor thing!
Left behind such a squiggle,
a bizarre sort of wiggle,
you'd think it was on its last wing.

A Few Tears Shed…

Yesterday I wrote about my own health issues and the uncertainty of life. Today I’m shedding a few tears, and yet rejoicing, for a man who’s bravely faced over twenty-four years of uncertainty.

With one last puff, a flickering candle has blown out in this world. We all knew the end was near for blogger Bill Sweeney; he told us that in his last post. Now this morning, With A Heavy Heart, his wife Mary informs us that he’s passed away.

When he was first diagnosed, the doctors gave him about five years. Now, after over twenty-four years of battle with ALS — aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease — this warrior has been called home from the battlefield.

“O Death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?”
I Corinthians 15:55

When he first entered the battle against this foe, he reached out for the hand of God and grasped it, and found it firm to the end. Though Bill slowly lost his physical abilities and was finally completely paralyzed, still he carried on faithfully doing what he could. Via the internet, using a computer program that tracked his eye movements, he continued to share the good news of God’s love and encourage people around the globe.

He inspired us all to be more serious about our beliefs and more faithful to our Lord. All those who’ve read his posts will miss his sensible and gracious thoughts.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

II Timothy 4:7-8