Everything Should Have A Purpose

When I studied writing, the professor went on and on about how everything you write should have a purpose. I yawned. Well, of course. She went on about how your writing should do one of these things:focus

  1. advance the plot
  2. develop characterization
  3. supply needed information
  4. set the mood

I wrote those down and looked out the window. The campus was alive with a beautiful spring evening.

The professor went on, “If the phrase, the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter does not do one of these four things, it doesn’t belong.  Throw it out.  When making a dress, you would not sew in a piece of cloth just because you liked its color.  When you rebuild an engine, you would not insert a piece of metal, just because it was shiny.”

Naturally, I thought.

My buddy next to me gave me a poke and looked at his watch. We were ten minutes late for break time.

The lesson I treated so casually has proven to be of great value. While I point it out in my student’s work, I find myself wandering in my writing. I’m not tough on myself. Come on, Ed, get with it. Does it:The wandering smurf

  1. advance the plot
  2. develop characterization
  3. supply needed information
  4. set the mood

 

Images courtesy of:

  • barry-overstreet.com
  • bluebuddies.com
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4 responses to “Everything Should Have A Purpose

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