Author Laura Bynum - Pare Down Ruthlessly


Veracity Book Jacket WEbook welcomes Laura Bynum, author of the recently released Veracity as a guest WEblogger! A little bit of background about Laura and her new book:

Laura grew up in Springfield, Illinois and earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Communications. She has since worked as a filmmaker and a marketing consultant.

Veracity takes place in a future dystopia where an act of viral terrorism has wiped out one-half of the country’s population. Out of the ashes a new government has risen, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled Book of Noah, they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom.

Take it away, Laura...

Laura Bynum Website I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but before following that dream, I went the more conventional route. I got a couple of degrees and a corporate job. Got married. Had kids. It wasn’t until a story, a really good one, burrowed itself into the middle of my orderly world that I decided it was time to step up and give it a go. I wrote a rough but promising early version of Veracity, then did my research on how to get it noticed and found every finger pointing in the same direction. Go to a conference. Go to the one in Maui where you’ll meet the biggest and the best. Go all out or don’t go at all. I signed up.

Before the event, participants were given access to a web forum where we could upload the first five pages of our manuscripts and the agents and editors who’d be attending could take a look. They would say,Yes, I want to meet you! Or the largely silent, No thanks. I only received one response from a kind editor named Dan Conaway who left me his thoughts, if not his interest—three words that bridged the gap between my novel as it was, and my novel as it could be: Pare down ruthlessly. I applied this wisdom immediately.

Knowing, as Shakespeare puts it, that ‘brevity is the soul of wit’, I understood implicitly what Dan was saying. I dove into Veracity with no ego, operating as if I was simply an editor, once removed. I took out instances of over-explanation—places where metaphoric action or a bit of speech could do the job, often more eloquently than the belabored section in question. I scratched out the superfluous, nixed the redundant, and eradicated that which might be a beautiful turn of language, but progressed neither the story nor any character development. It was brutal. It was liberating.

Having ruthlessly pared down my prose, I entered Veracity into the conference’s writing contest, which I ended up winning. As a result, I signed with Writers House in NYC for agent representation and, via serendipitous curves in both our paths, was assigned to a gentleman named Dan Conaway. The same man who’d given me those three precious words that so changed my life.

I used to think the Holy Grail of writerdom was getting an agent, getting a publisher, and getting published. I realize now, that was the quest. The real Holy Grail is having the guts to be my own best critic and becoming the kind of writer I love to read. It’s paring down with an eye toward what’s best for the whole and thinking of eloquence as that magic that occurs maybe between the words, or after the words, or not necessarily within them.


Go here to buy Laura's new book on Amazon. If you want more tips on paring down your writing, check out a previous post about cutting unnecessary description from your writing.

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