Overexplaining 02/07/21

Almost every major problem in a manuscript comes from a lack of confidence in the audience.

Let’s assume an author has all the basics down. They can string a sentence together, they understand how to develop a well-rounded character, and they can put all of that into the context of a plot that unfolds at a good pace.

From there, the next major hurdle is to let go and internalize the understanding that every single thing you write will not be understood by every single reader. Trying to fortify this will end poorly.

One person takes a shoe bomb on a plane, we all have to take off our shoes. Don’t bring this into writing. 99 of your readers shouldn’t have to slog through equivocation so that all 100 of them are on the same page.

A Thing happens. It’s explained why. In the writer’s mind, they are listening to a critic, saying “wait…but how did this character know that?” The writer explains. The critic continues: “hold on…if they knew that, why didn’t they do this?”

On and on this goes, until you’re writing in circles.

Many a long manuscript is made longer this way.

YouTube channels that outline all of the “logical inconsistencies” of Star Wars movies have poisoned many people’s brains. If something doesn’t make sense to them, that means it’s bad. Doesn’t matter if it’s their fault that they don’t get it.

The customer is always right, in some people’s minds.

I’m suggesting that you do away with that. There’s a difference between being intentionally obtuse (which, surprising no one, I’m also for) and simply saying, “hey, I left enough there for you to bring it all together.”

“Plot holes” are like potholes: they’re only a problem if they completely fuck up your car.

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