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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

New Book Update: Going Deep Tightens My Fiction and Relaxes My Process

I’m shooting for a brief post today because quite frankly, I’m loving what I’m doing with my novel right now and I’m eager to get back to it.

In the past two and a half months, I’ve deleted nearly 5,000 words from my novel, Essential Path, significantly improving the story AND making my writing process easier and more rewarding.  

My novel is too long, even for science fiction, so finding a way to trim and tighten that doesn’t make me grieve what’s being lost is a blessing.

Before I reveal the “miracle technique” that’s making such a positive impact on both my writing process and the writing itself, let’s remember that what works for one writer doesn’t necessarily work for another. My “this is fabulous” technique might be your “this is a tedious waste of time” technique.

What’s Working for My Fiction

53551101 – young man enjoying his laptop underwater

At the beginning of April, I read something about Deep POV and filter words. I wish I could remember specifically what it was, so I could point you to it. You can learn more at:

How to Write in Deep POV

What’s so Deep about Deep POV?

Nuts and Bolts: Thought Verbs

Playing with Deep POV and watching for filter words gives me puzzle pieces to search for. I keep score with the number of words I delete. It’s tremendously satisfying to make a chapter do more with fewer words.

Sometimes I delete two or three words from a sentence; sometimes I see entire paragraphs that can go. I delete my “thesis sentences” (thank you Chuck Palahniuk) that drain energy by telling the reader what I’m about to show.

Occasionally filter words reveal places where I need to go deeper into the character’s experience. Some writers might find that replacing filter words significantly adds to their word count. I think it’s a matter of style: writers (like me) who write “long” in early drafts see how we can tighten, and writers who write “short” in early drafts see where to expand.

Now it’s your turn. Please comment about your discoveries with Deep POV and/or filter words. I promise to reply to comments later.

Right now, I’m going back to my novel!

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4 Comments on “New Book Update: Going Deep Tightens My Fiction and Relaxes My Process”

  1. Lucy Gray June 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    Great links, and quite timely. Thanks for another jump-start. Did you save those 5000 words for a rainy day?


    • rosannebane June 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

      You’re welcome Lucy! I didn’t save the 5,000 words — most of them were filter words I’d like to say good-bye to permanently.


  2. Glynis Jolly June 24, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    Deep POV is something I got from the first time I read about it. I loved the idea of not having to bother with dialogue tags and, instead, show the character more. Filter words are still a huge problem for me. You would not think so with the Deep POV but I still struggle with them.


    • rosannebane June 26, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

      Hi Glynis, don’t worry about the filter words slipping into early drafts, when we’re only telling the story to ourselves anyway. I’ve just added “Check for filter words” to the list of things to do to move early draft to reader-ready draft.


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