Conscious Crafting: How much is too much?

When it comes to short stories, or poetry or even your ‘masterpiece’ you have to be exact. Planning is often essential, and a strong plot or idea is a must. But when it comes down to crafting your writing how much fuss is too much fuss?

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this question, as a creative writing student I often find myself going back and consciously crafting my work; adjusting words to fit themes, to foreshadow, or to add effect. But at what point do you draw the line? Don’t get me wrong, crafting your sentences improves your writing- and at the end of the day if it ups my grade I’m all for it- but at what point can I safely say my work is well crafted? I live in constant fear of accidentally over-crafting. You know what i mean? That really pretentious book where you can’t survive the first 3 chapters because it’s all too perfect to be properly read, or (worse yet) the kind of thing where the words are chosen so consciously that you feel like the authors looking over your shoulder. And I don’t mean complicatedly worded books like Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘The Raven Cycle’ ( love ’em) or books with well developed lexis’ like Sarah J.Mass’ ‘Throne of Glass’ series (so much love), no. I mean something like ‘Imposter’ by Susanne Winnacker. Not only is it poorly written, but some of the word choices are so obvious as to be cringe worthy!

I can’t be the pretentious, over-crafted author!

I can’t do it!

How much is too much? When do I say that I’m happy? I can’t very well change every single adjective, theme all my proper nouns and chuck lexis at every last metaphor.( I recently learnt that sometimes the most effective similes and metaphors have very little to do with my lexis, or my themes for that matter.)

So tell me dear readers, where do you draw the line?

How much crafting is too much?

Or is there no such thing?

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