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  • Syd Young

To Progress, To Drilling Down

Updated: Feb 6

I’ve been able to delve deep into the WIP again, helping my angst about it. True, it’s a big idea, lots of room for failure, but also it appeals to me, and that’s a must.


Now that I’ve settled into the monthly deadlines and giving/receiving critiques, the class I’m in is working its magic and helping me in many areas.


Most agree, having writing critique partners you can trust makes a huge difference in your work. The writers I’m paired with are very good and, even better, historical fiction oriented. In my experience, this one aspect saves much heartache. I’m one of few Americans in the group, and I’m a bit surprised this hasn’t caused any issue, given that UK/US English and grammar can be quite different.


In the last couple of months I've been working on drilling down. The drill down is good writing 101, but lawyering will corrupt a writer with wordiness in a heartbeat. So I’m trying to avoid that in my fiction. The best method I know for this is the Drill Down.


Drilling down can take on multiple aspects:


things (is it an old car or a two-door 1954 green Mercury Coupe with a white top?);


acts (did he slowly walk over or did he saunter?);


active voice (she was about to drop the potato casserole vs. she almost dropped the potato casserole);


non essential wording (For example, compare:


”He moved near Lucy, playing his game of eyeing every little thing which had appeared in the kitchen since his last visit.”


vs.


“He moved near Lucy, playing

his game of eyeing every little thing in the kitchen.”);


and, finally,


repetitive jargon (we all know this, things like “repeat again”).


I‘m always able to whittle down my monthly columns with precision. It has bothered me to no end that I don’t always seem able to do it with my fiction writing. Remembering the Drill Down is helping me change that.

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Syd Young

Some of my story, in pictures.