From Dreaming to Publishing: Proportion



This post is part of the “From Dreaming to Publishing” series.

  • Don’t focus your reader’s attention on ordinary things
  • Don’t fill all the details, let your readers’ imagination fill the gaps, e.g. “The phone rang. ‘Hello’, John said.” (no need to describe how John got to the phone)
  • The more time you spend on describing, the more importance you’re giving it
  • You can take advantage and mislead the reader into a plot twist, e.g. describe a character using a victim point of view and later revel he’s the aggressor
  • Your character’s viewpoint should control the level of detail, e.g. if he’s running the surroundings are just a blur
  • Make sure everything you write either develops the character or your narrator, otherwise it’s just filling


  • Review your descriptions. Would your character notice that?
  • Now review your last 50 pages. Do they develop a character or place? Are they that relevant?
  • Do you have tangents (subplots) that don’t advance the main plot? Should you keep or add more?

book cover

This post is a personal summary of a chapter from the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which I read when preparing for NaNoWriMo. It warns amateur writers for the common pitfalls and provides solutions with examples. I’m sure you’ll find it useful too.