I want to share a tip for editing your writing. There’s a little thing that writers do that bugs me: It’s called a frame. Basically, it’s everything around the necessary information that doesn’t really help your reader understand anything, it’s just superfluous. Here’s an exaggerated example to prove my point:
She saw with her eyes that there was an elephant standing impossibly in the castle’s ballroom.
Or you could simply say:
An elephant stood, proud, tall, and incongruous, in the middle of the castle’s ballroom.
Editing Your Writing: Trim the Frames
Frames are everywhere. And they are all fat, so they’re an easy thing to trim when editing your writing. Every time you describe that your character saw, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted something, see if you can’t drill into the more essential information of the sentence and cut out the unnecessary words. Instead of, “He smelled the cakes fresh out of the oven and they filled the room with warm cinnamon,” focus on the latter half of the sentence to set the mood. (And kudos to you if you’re using all five senses in your prose writing, including taste, smell, and touch, which often take a backseat to sight and hearing!)
Frames are a Form of Telling
No matter if you’re telling your story in first person point of view or third, you are basically saying, “This is what my character experienced” when you write a picture book or novel. There’s no reason to keep saying, “She experienced such and such,” which is basically what you’re reminding your reader of each time you use a frame. Simply get straight to the such and such. It’s a small trick for editing writing (and therefore a short post) but it will make your prose that much leaner and cleaner.
I love helping writers of all skill levels improve their prose writing. Each manuscript critique comes with proofreading and line editing services, which will help polish your work for agent eyes.