There’s an adage that says never point your weapon at someone else unless you’re prepared to use it. It sort of goes along with the other adage more familiar to writer’s known as “Chekhov’s Gun” – if a gun appears on the wall in Act 1, it will be fired by Act III. The point is not to clutter up the story with unnecessary elements.

Take Only What You Need

We all live our lives with an insane amount of clutter–even if you’re a minimalist, you still have stuff around you as you move through your life that is unnecessary or what you’re doing at that time. The difference is that in the world of story, you don’t have to include all that clutter. And by clutter I mean stuff that’s important to life (like coffee) but not to the scene or the story.

Our characters are lucky in that what they see and react to is only that which we as authors plan for them. But we are not doing them (or our readers) any favors by cluttering up the settings or their focus with a lot of unnecessary dressing.

Lean And Mean

Too sparse of a setting can give your reader a sense of vertigo because nothing is nailed down. You as the author have the power to add weight and significance to the things in your setting with the choices you make in your language, your tone, and the focus of your energy as well as your characters’.

Ask yourself what’s important in each scene-to both you as author and to your characters. Are they in sync? Should they be?

My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is out now! Please check it out!

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She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…

He’s absolutely sure she’s right…

But he’s still going to prove her wrong.

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