Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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.


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.


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

(Recycled from 2/19/08)

1 comment:

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

Great tip. A graphic artist I used to work with taught me the value of white space. She called it "breathing room," and insisted on it in all kinds of printed material -- brochures, newsletters, whatever. Same goes for non-fiction, memoir, essay. So not just kid lit. But I love your presentation of it.