Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Writing Tip Tuesday

White space.


You need it.


You want it.


You love it.


What is white space, you ask?


White space is white space.


Duh!


White space is areas of a manuscipt with no words.

Books for young readers need white space.

Areas with no white space often indicate the following problems:
  • Long sections of narrative
  • Long sections of interior monologue
  • Paragraphs that are too long
  • Scenes that go on for too long
All of the above can be problems because they are likely to slow pace (and bore young readers).

Here's a nifty exercise:
Hold your whole manuscript and use your thumb to literally flip through it.
Pay attention to the white space.
But more importantly, pay attention to the areas without white space.
Take a look at those areas.

Maybe you need to add more white space.

How?

Cut some narrative or interior monologue.
Revise to shorten paragraphs.
Delete unneeded or repetitious scenes.
Add dialogue.

2 comments:

Lisa Graff said...

Oooh, this is such good advice, Barbara! I'm going to pick up my manuscript tomorrow and do me some flipping!

lauramanivong said...

It's not the white space I have problems with. It's that black stuff that trips me up!