He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle’s Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
He Built a Guitar Out of His Uncle's Skeleton And Over-explaining Makes Bad Writing

Authors, let’s just admit it. We’re insecure.

Writing is communication and we want to make sure that our readers are getting what we’re putting down (Translation: Understanding what we’re saying).

So, what do we do?

We over-explain.

And that over-explaining slows down our pacing and makes our reader not want to read anymore.

There are lots of bigger ways of overexplaining.

And what is overexplaining? It’s when you just keep adding things on to make your reader get what you’re saying.

Like this:

Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry he could spit. His hands clenched into tight fists. “What kind of butthead are you?” he roared.

So, all four of those sentences tell us the same thing.

Shaun is angry.

You can cut down that to one or two and the reader is still going to get it. Trust the reader’s brains. Trust yourself.

Here’s a rewrite.

Shaun punched the wall. “What kind of butthead are you?”

But it’s not just in long passages that us writer people do this. We do it in short bits too.

Here are some big ones.

            She shrugged her shoulders. (She shrugged)

            He nodded his head in agreement. (He nodded) or (He agreed)

            They shook their head no. (They shook their head)

            He looked at his watch to check the time. (He checked the time)

Other things we do is

            Tell something that we just showed. (Shaun punched the wall. He was so angry.)

            Add in a dialogue tag that we don’t need, (the she said/they asked) when we don’t need it.

            Add in silly adverbs that we don’t need.

            Add in a bunch of statements all saying the same thing. (See that original example).

Acting like the reader is stupid. (Of course we know the person is nodding their head. We don’t think they are nodding their butt.)

            Info dumps

When you do this over-explaining thing you:

  1.  Slow down the pace
  2. Ruin the subtext.
  3. Break my heart.
  4. Make the scenes dull. Over-explaining takes out the pizzazz.
  5. It takes away the immediacy and the forward motion of the plot and scene.


Be all one and done, people. Trust the reader to get it. Trust your skills to communicate well.


If you want a treat, sit in front of the pantry and drool on the floor.





The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.


AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.

Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

So, you want to be a bad writer, come sit down.

Bad writers, gather around. I see that you’re already glaring at each other and/or looking at your phone in an attempt to avoid human contact.


You’re off to such a terrific start.

Welcome to the five-stop HOW TO BE A BAD WRITER program. Yes, we have placed you in your natural environment, a coffee shop, because we couldn’t all fit on a bed or couch. I’m sorry if you aren’t comfy enough. Ready?

Let’s begin.

Easy Ways To Be A Bad Writer

Care Only About You

That’s right. Your readers don’t matter. Writing isn’t actual communication between the writer and reader. It’s just you. You are all that matters.

No empathy allowed.

Assume Everyone Thinks The Same Way You Do and Has The Same Experiences

That’s right. Every single character in your book and in the world in an ISTP on the Myers-Briggs personality scale just like you are. They react to things the same way you do. Mm-hm. So, if you reference a dooryard, they are just going to get it. If you never get harassed by the police because you are a white, wealthy guy, that’s how it always is. Mm…

Do not have empathy, bad writers! Again. No empathy allowed.

Expect Everyone to Give You Everything You Want.

The first time anyone reads your rough draft that you finished last night, they are going to give you:

  1. A book contract
  2. A movie contract
  3. A hug
  4. Unlimited praise and fan-mail
  5. A jet
  6. A fully paid worldwide publicity tour.

Bad writer, you deserve this. You shouldn’t have to revise. Revising is for wimps and good writers and people with empathy. To hell with that and them.

Rant at Every Opportunity.

Someone gives you a bad review? Who is this cretin? Does he not recognize genius? Immediately rant and escalate the situation and call your minions down upon he who dared to suggest your ending was not resonating enough and that you should learn the difference between your and you’re.

Unleash the Kraken. The Kraken has no empathy and no chill, either.

Blow Everyone Off

Social media is communication? Whatever. Not for you. Social media is just where you blast everyone with your book promotions and self-indulgent I AM AWESOME posts. Never say thank you. Never communicate back. You’re an author not a communicator, right?


Secret Superheroes


Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.

I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.

So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links about them are all up there in the header on top of the page on my website carriejonesbooks.blog.  There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.


Write! Submit! Support! Begins Again in July!


It’s not easy to create a thriving writing career in the children’s industry, but what if you didn’t have to do it alone? Write. Submit. Support is a six-month program designed by author and Writing Barn Founder Bethany Hegedus. Classes are led by top creatives in the children’s industry field; they’ll give you the tips and tools you need to take both your manuscripts and your developing career to the next level. Think of it as an MFA in craft with a certificate in discovering (or recovering) your writer joy! – Writing Barn 

More about the class I specifically teach? It is right here.

Here is what current students are saying:

Carrie is all strengths. Seriously. She’s compassionate, funny, zesty, zany, insightful, honest, nurturing, sharp, and…Wow, that’s a lot of adjectives. But really, I couldn’t praise Carrie enough as a mentor. I’ve long respected her writing, but being talented at something doesn’t automatically mean you will be a great mentor. Carrie just happens to be one of those rare cases of extreme talent and excellent coaching. Aside from the specific feedback she offers, she also writes letters in response to the process letter and analyses. These letters have been so impactful for me as I writer that I plan to print them and hang them up. Creepy? Maybe. But they are so inspiring. And that, in the most long-winded way possible, is how I would summarize Carrie as a mentor—inspiring.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People

And finally, the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
The podcast of awesome


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