I just read a review of a book--wherein this word, "over-written" is used to describe books that are seen in a negative light--bloated is another word that is mentioned. That I understand. I like lean plots myself--no padding or unnecessary and or irrelevant wordage--which can be rambling and distract from the core points of the story.
But as for something being over-written--can't say that I have heard the expression much--perhaps only once.
Does it mean too wordy, too descriptive--if it does, isn't that the same as bloated?
What does it mean to you guys?
And thanks!

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I was teasing.
I know you were. I understand sardonic humor. I have alot myself as does my husband who retired from the State Attorney's office after 30 years here in Fla.
I knew you didn't mean it. lol
Anyone who worked in a State Attorney's office for 30 years has to have a good sense of humor.
He does and sometimes those who don't know him don't quite get it. Not only do I get it - I have just as much of a sardonic wit as he does. It gets very funny at times.
We both believe that stupidty should be considered a capital crime punishable by a quick and very painful death.
My kind of people!
Amen. Trust me I have seen more than my share in my life time.
Does genre factor into whether a book is over-written? I'm a former reporter/editor/photojournalist turned novelist so I'm certainly no expert on the subject. My first book of fiction, an historical novel, was returned with a comment from the editor that it was well researched, good dialogue and plot, but overwritten. When I read back through it, I noticed that all my Dean Koontz reading had predisposed me to poetic phrasing. A brutal rewrite paid off, the novel is now up for a third publication. But since I've turned to crime, I really have to self edit the humorous chit chat. I think I'll go back to reading Hemingway, or as A. B. Guthrie, Jr. once said, "Very few news [reporters] know the language of fiction." My writing pendulum had swung from one extreme to the other.
Journalists should have an advantage in this area. They're trained to be succinct and use plain language. Genre novels are read by people who like that. That is not to say that one cannot have it both ways, provided the book moves and isn't bogging down in irrelevancies.
I've always maintained that a genre novel (whether it is a mystery or a historical novel) should attempt to do more than just tell a story as simply as possible. The award-winning writers do achieve this.
I agree with Ingrid. A good example is James Lee Burke. He's a master of writing flowing descriptions that activate a readers senses. He's so good that I'm sometimes leery of opening his books fearing a deluge of New Orleans swamp water. But overwritten, no. Stuart Kaminsky is another great writer who packs a ton of description in his books. Stuart uses fewer words than Burke to get the job done, but the effect is the same.
I also go back to the premise of how long can one describe a blade of grass. The key to successful writing without being over written is to describe the scene, person, etc well so that the reader becomes part of the story without the reader dreading to turn the page for fear of more of the same.
Below is the first chapter of my soon to be released crime novel Brilliant Insanity. I wrote in both 1st and 3rd person. I wrote it as if I were the criminal. The reader begins to worm their way into the story from the first sentence. I put the reader in the criminals skin. I want the reader to feel the feel and see the starkness of the visitation room, to feel the handcuffs and shackles the sardonic, narcissistic, psychopathic personality of the criminal. I wanted him to become real to my reader.
Maybe this will help to answer some questions which have been asked.

Chapter One

The door to the small gray walled visitation room slammed shut, with a bang that reverberated throughout the floor.
As I began to sit down on the cold grey metal chair my handcuffs and shackles rattle like old bones. The cuffs are tight against my wrist, making them very uncomfortable, because they are chained to the leg shackles. Wearing the leg shackles make it difficult to walk and move around. I am not able to walk properly it is more like a shuffle. I guess they think I will try to escape. I am a resident of the State of Florida at Raeford Prison located in North Central Florida near Gainesville. After exhausting all of my appeals through the judicial system, being in prison for over fifteen years and knowing I was finally going to get the needle for the eight bitches I finally got retribution on, I wanted to tell my story. I wanted the world to know what they had done to me and how I had been treated all those years ago in 1983.
And as an added kick I wanted the cops to know that I knew who had killed the other three. My name is Marion Lewis Reinhart. At least it has been for many years. The name on my birth certificate is Marion Louisa Reinhart. My mother wanted a boy. My parents called me Louis from the day I was born. I am scheduled to die by the lethal cocktail in five days.
The lethal cocktail is a mixture of Sodium Pentothal which produces a coma, pancironium bromide which relaxes the muscles and potassium chloride which causes the heart to stop beating. Separately these drugs are good. Together they are, well, lethal. What a way to go. When I found out I was going to have this lovely lethal cocktail, I looked it all up in the prison library. Funny, they strap me down to put me to sleep. By the time I get hit with the chloride, I will be in the twilight zone.
But before I go, I have been given permission to tell the facts of what happened three years ago. The facts are so much better than the truth as all of them know it. The facts are what really happened and why. The facts will finally set me free. Not their so called truth.
The cops thought they were so smart. They thought they had it all figured out. They thought it was about my sexual inabilities. They thought it was the only way I could get off. Those idiots ! It had nothing to do with sex. It had to do with revenge.
As I glanced around the room, my eyes stopped abruptly on the young reporter sitting across from me. She is over dressed in a pale blue suit. Her blouse is a shade darker and all the buttons are fastened according to the prison rules. There is no excess or inviting flesh anywhere. She looks like an old fashioned school marm waiting to wrap my knuckles for some infraction of the rules.
I couldn’t help but notice her red shoulder length hair, and like me it had a mind of its own. She she is in her mid twenties. I think her deep green eyes are the best quality about her. Until I notice her face, soft and petite with a mouth that is small and seductively inviting. She has a small delicate nose which is slightly turned up on the end. She will break some man’s heart one day, if she hasn’t already. She wears no jewelry. Her name is Mandy McQuaid, from the Fort Pierce, Sentinel.

The Fort Pierce Sentinel is the local paper for the Fort Pierce area. It has been locally owned by a family by the name of Barnes for a hundred years. It covered my crime from the first day the last body was found. The editor, Bill Barnes did an excellent job of covering the story when it broke, so it only seemed fair that he get the rest of the story. Besides that he had Mandy as one of his reporters and someone I was very interested in.
She looks like one of the ones who were popular in high school. I bet she was even on the cheer leading squad.
“Hey cheerleader,” I say as she shifts in her chair. Her eyes grow wide and I see her breath come in short pants. I like that it reminds me of prison sex. She was picked for this article because she looks like the eight. I only wanted her to do the article. She would understand my reasons for having to do retribution. She will understand when she knows all of the facts. She will more than happy to be part of my retribution.
I can tell she is scared to be in the room with me. I watch her get the small tape recorder out of her bag and put it on the table. Then she takes out her yellow legal pad and several pens. I watch her slender hands shake slightly as she lays the pad on the table. She glances at the two way mirror to make sure someone is watching. I smile at her in what I think is a non-threatening way. I know what she is thinking. I see it in her face. She thinks I may try to kill her. She has nothing to worry about. She is the instrument of my truth. She will let the world know how badly I was treated all those years ago. Everyone will see that I was the victim. I was the one who was hurt and ridiculed. I was the one who was left out. I am the one left with the invisible scars. She will be the one who tells the world that I was the one who so cleverly and masterfully killed the three. Yes, Mandy will make things right.
“Today is July 15, 2007. I am interviewing Mr. Marion Lewis Reinhart who has five days left” Mandy said into the recorder.
Marion Reinhart will be executed in the Florida Penal System by lethal injection.
Taking a deep breath, Mandy continues, “Mr. Reinhart has stated that he wishes to tell his side of the story behind the heinous crimes of murder he committed eight years ago against eight women.”

I sit back in my chair, take a deep breath and do my best to hide my smile.
“Well, Mandy.”
The recording made a whizzing sound that was distracting, but this would catch her attention.
“There were more than eight.”
Too much for me. I would prune.
just want to jump in here, that's so interesting--though to put in, but what do i know--I suppose it might not have a place in journalism--but some might want to know!


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