What's the real story in this picture? It was all there and all true. Actually there was a lot more in it that I cut out already. Just like I've done with my editing, but there's still so much that just distracts from what I want to focus on.
Here's the real story. The potato gun. A study in physics and fun. When you crop the picture completely the story becomes clearer. The same is true for our writing.
We have to cut out the excess and focus in on what's important to our stories--eliminating the dead wood. With all my edits lately I'm finding this so incredibly important. There are parts of my story that I enjoy and my daughter enjoys, but that doesn't mean that they belong in the book.
Once we hone in on what's important, it makes the picture better or have more of an impact. This is also true for our writing. This is where we show the details. This is how we put the reader in the scene.
That's the exact same angle of the Washington Monument--just closer. But it tells a different story than the first one. While it's essential to give a context for the picture (if you didn't know that was a picture of the Washington Monument it might mean less to you), the closeness shows things you can't see from a distance. The variation in color of the stones. The nicks and chips. The wire.
Same subject. What story does this angle and closeness tell you? Where's the focus? I love how you can see the mortar.
All weekend I've been thinking about what's important for my story and how to best focus in on those things and not let distractions drift in and take over. That is something that drives me crazy in books I read--when they drift off and go on for pages and pages on something irrelevant. Maybe it's intriguing and maybe it's funny, but is it necessary? It can be hard to see in your own writing though. That's where beta readers come in so handy. So right now with my story I'm working on cutting the dead wood that is dragging things down.
One more visual pair. The Maryland WWII Memorial. Which picture has more impact for you? Is it the one farther away or the one closer up. It's essentially the same angle. The flags are the same in both pictures.