One of the lessons that I’ve read and heard about writing is the need to use only the words necessary. One of my early English teachers always taught that there is one, exact, word that precisely expresses what the writer intends to convey for any specific purpose. Part of that challenge is, naturally, the breadth and depth of your vocabulary. For that reason a thesaurus and dictionary are essential for me when writing. I own several different kinds of each I use in different situations.
As you’ve probably noticed, I love to use an abundance of words. Rearranging structure, cutting words, and shortening sentences takes more time and effort than the original composition. Even then, the job isn’t complete unless I’ve remembered to account for the genre and probable age range of readers. I put limits on the length of chapters and the total words for Orchids Ablaze to force myself to be frugal. For the sequel, I am going to relax those restrictions somewhat and expand descriptions for a more evocative and cinematic presentation. That doesn’t reduce the need to be succinct. Therefore, I’ve been practicing my ruthlessness.
The second book is proving to be even more challenging than I expected. The plot is solidly in my mind, but how I’m going to blend the scenes into a coherent whole isn’t as developed as the first book. So, while I let that simmer on the back burner of my writing brain, I’m practicing with very short pieces and then cutting them even more. Accomplishing that without compromising the imagery or diluting the impact is the challenge.
It’s also the reward.