Hi! I'm Joe, and I'm a writer.

I forgot one of the most important principles of writing

published10 months ago
1 min read

Hey Reader,

We all need feedback on our writing. I need feedback. You need feedback. Even Stephen King needs feedback.

I tell writers this constantly, but this week I was reminded why it's so important when I got coached by Sarah Gribble, the bestselling novelists and short story writer (you can watch it all here).

Within a minute, she identified the major flaw in my story idea. Then over the next thirty minutes, she rebuilt my doomed story from the ground up into a solid plan.

So what was the flaw? And how do you fix it?

The problem was that my idea was way too complicated.

Writing Lessons From Top Chef

I've been watching a lot of old episodes of Top Chef lately, and one of the most consistent reasons the judges send chefs home is that their dishes have too much going on:

  • Unnecessary garnishes
  • Conflicting flavors
  • Sauces that don't mesh with the rest of the dish
  • Not having time to finish because their dish is way too complicated

The judges even told one contestant as they were being sent home, "You need to learn to edit down your dishes."

Touche, Tom Colicchio. Touche.

Great Writing Is Simple

In the same way, writers need to learn to edit down their ideas.

That's because great writing is simple writing.

You think the complication is going to enhance your story. You think the extra character is going to bring more drama. You think the third subplot is going to bring even more excitement.

But time after time, I've learned the best way is the simple way.

And instead of frantically running around to lots of different plot points and characters and new settings, the answer is almost to stop.

Take a breath,.

Go deeper into the one, small, simple thing.

And you, dear reader, how can you simplify your writing today?

This Week in Photos

It has been a busy week, full of trainings, coaching, and the shenanigans of children, but also a week that spring has started to make itself known here in Atlanta.

These just stuck their green shoots out of the leaves a few weeks ago and they're already flowering. They're not the only ones

Beautiful right? All grown in our garden! When we moved into our new house, we inherited decades of careful gardening from the previous owners. Very few weeks went by, even in the winter, without something interesting blooming.

Also, Talia made some truly delicious homemade ravioli. Looking at this picture just makes me want more!

Alright folks, that's it from me. Have a great weekend, and see you soon.