just-right writing.

Montages are an important part of screenwriting. A montage a series of visual clips of story, put together back-to-back, with no words. The purpose of using a montage is to shorten time. With a montage, you see little blips of events and, as a viewer, your mind automatically fills in the story around the clips. (You don’t have to show everything on camera. That would be  completely boring. Yeah. Completely.)

Creating a good montage is a Goldilocks and the Three-Bears kind of thing. It can’t be too much, it can’t be too little. For the viewer to fully understand what’s happening in the truncated time, it has to be just right.

Getting just the right amount of writing can be hard to do in novels. And in picture books. And in poems. And, well, everything we write. Sometimes we don’t have enough words, so we need to add. Sometimes we put in too many words, so we need to take out. (We all have a tendency. What’s yours?)

So how do you write just-right? Some people say perfection in writing is about rhythm: You have to have the right number of beats in the writing. Some people say perfect writing comes from tonality: You have to have the right consonance and assonance — making melody along with the words’ meanings. Some people say it’s all about description: the just-right amount of rich, sensory words to “get the picture.” Some say that writing perfection is about sentence length: Know that a short sentence is powerful…that like-length sentences lull…and that increasing (or decreasing) the length of sentences in a paragraph does something to the reader. And still others say that perfect writing comes from syntax (the order of the words): You have to know which words to begin with — or to leave the reader with. (The last words become bridges to the next idea.)

Truth: In order to be a good writer, you have to be just right with all these things. A.L.L. Excuse me right now while I sigh. (Can you hear me?)

Writing is hard work. Learning craft. Reading. Listening. And gobs of practice. TONS. Ooodles. Way much.

Honing the craft takes perseverence. We have to keep on. Do more, learn more, write more. Get more. Become more. Share more.

It’s like a game. A good game.
Keep playing.

* Thup


  1. As I was reading your list of elements I was thinking “you need ALL these things” and there you said it 🙂 Great stuff, Erin. And, yes, I don’t think we can keep ourselves from playing, right? 😉

  2. An artist’s expression and pull is a lovely obsession, a deep drive, a life-blood pulse. To stop is to die, for dying is more than physical.

    So we keep on.

    I raise my cup to you, my friend.

    * Thup

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