Translation to the Page

It’s always something about real life that doesn’t translate well to the page. Ever tried translating an actual conversation word for word? How about giving someone a blow-by-blow of something that happened?

Readers don’t want all the details. There is a point where you have to speed things up to make it – or keep it – interesting.

On the phone with someone you know, you ask about others to be polite or because you’re interested. In a story, your reader is going to wonder what the heck is up with Aunt Edna. If it doesn’t advance the plot, it shouldn’t be included.

Sometimes writers get so caught up in the characters, we see the whole thing about Aunt Edna, but we forget that it isn’t part of the story where Judy meets Robert and they save a dragon from the hunters.

I’m sure it’d be different if we needed Aunt Edna starting in Chapter 7 with a hideout or some other plot device. Always a good thing to check for during a rewrite to see if some of those things run away with you. They always seem to run away with me in the first draft(s).


  1. 26 February 2009 at 10:10

    I enjoyed your reminder about moving the story along. We all need that kind of nudge–almost daily! (-:

    I hoped to subscribe to your blog (btw, it’s beautiful) but couldn’t find a place to do that. I use Feedblitz for my blogs.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites pick,

  2. Sarah said,

    26 February 2009 at 10:25

    I read an article once where they actually did use an entire “real” phone conversation, then showed the better version. It was quite illuminating!

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