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Authors : Avoid unnecessary details

Updated on May 19, 2016

My grandfather has always told me, upon reading any of my works of art, how he becomes distracted by the irrelevant material I add, and how consequently this serves to destroy the effect of impact creation on him, the reader.

"Mention nothing that does not relate to the theme," he would say. "You may think it makes your plot interesting and realistic, but truly it doesn't, it only confuses the reader in the sense they may be misled to think the main theme is not what the writer intended it to be."

For example, you must not mention that John or Philip or Antony "took his shoes off" unless there is special significance attached to it. Only mention it if you are going to mention (soon or later) that he did so because, say, the Holy Bible was inside the room that he took off his shoes to enter.

Elaborate descriptions of unnecessary details must be DELETED ALTOGETHER. I'm not even saying keep them minimal. Simply strike them off.

As an aspiring author now I think it is doing me good to keep this tip in mind. I have been able to be more precise in my writing and effective in my influence. All writers, if they consider this suggestion and let it guide their writing, will go on to climb the ladder of literary sophistication and prove to move a level up on intellect in general.

How to avoid unnecessary details


A kep step, establishing the main ideas explored in your piece of work is the first and most important factor that determines the nature of the material you write. Decide on one or two themes, keep them in mind and remember whatever you write must stick to the concept of the theme(s), and must help to bring out the theme without you bluntly having to explain it.


Give only those characters life that will contribute to the theme of the story, enhance it, express it in some way. Don't add characters for the sake of adding them or trying to achieve a "realistic" effect. In my grandfather's words, "Let each character give life to the theme of your work. Lest they might as well be dead."


Ask both an expert and a layman to read through your work. Check for their reactions. Did what you wrote create an impact? Did it convey what your theme was? Ask the people you let read your piece to explain what they gathered about the theme of the work. If the answer matches what you intended, then your work lacks any irrelevant details and certainly enables the reader to understand the ideas central to the text.


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    • renee21 profile image


      2 years ago

      I love writing it! I've made hubs of the first four chapters. I'd like to get it published when I finish it, so I don't know if I will post anymore of it.

    • Fatimaaa profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      Thank you, Renee. I'm glad you like the Hub. Indeed, we will make better writers if we are to keep this top tip in mind. I'd love to talk about your novel. :) Am sure you're doing a wonderful, wonderful job!

    • renee21 profile image


      2 years ago

      These are great tips. I have been writing for a few years, though I have published none of my writings yet. I have gotten better at removing unnecessary details, although I still need to work on it. I am currently writing a romance novel. Great hub!


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