We can just assume…

When I read other stories or write my own I try to pay attention. Lately I’ve been over describing things or including things that are just not necessary. We don’t need to constantly include the little things. Things that can easily be assumed or understood by the reader because it’s something everyone does.

Mundane tasks that are often over described:

Going to the bathroom (Gross)
Showering (unless this is a naughty scene or pertinent to the story leave it out)
Brushing teeth/grooming/makeup (Just mention it and move on, if at all)
Getting dressed/undressed (Apply same rule as showering)
Eating (Use this as an action tag sparingly or part of dialogue.)
Shopping (Unless a major plot turns here graze this)
Cleaning
Driving
Working
Working out/fitness

Most of the time these become redundant if the action or scene is solo. Where narrative takes over and little to no dialogue occurs.

Use general terms if you want to include the action but it’s not necessary to go into detail. IMO things like this are best done in past tense. By this point I would have already described her apartment so I wouldn’t go back into that. This paragraph is the transition from waking to going to work. While not completely necessary if I really wanted to include this I would have think and be considerate of the reader. I think sometimes as I write I tend to “tell all” and that might be condescending to a reader.

Anne scrubbed every inch of her skin with the rose scented soap. Once clean, she rinsed, turned off the water and stepped of the shower. She grabbed a soft white towel and began to pat dry her body. Anne wrapped herself with the towel and began blow-drying her hair. After brushing her dried locks, she went into her bedroom humming a chipper tune as she began selecting her clothes for the day. She slipped into her favorite grey slacks and light blue blouse. After buttoning the blouse, she made her way out to the kitchen to have some granola and yogurt before she headed out to work. (107)

This is pretty wordy. I have actually read books where the mundane is laid out as if I have no idea what happen

Clean and dried from her shower, Anne dressed in grey slacks and a light blue blouse. Whistling a chipper tune she padded out from her bedroom to find some breakfast before she headed out to work. (36)

71 words difference. That’s a lot. For me as a wordy writer taking out that surplus is a benefit. I still conveyed what she’s wearing, that she’s in a good mood, clean and ready for the day.

We can just assume the reader expects the characters have gone to the bathroom, brushed their teeth and put clothes on before leaving the house. Unless it’s really important keep it simple and to the point. The temptation to put those extra words in to beef up a story will backfire and bore the reader. Make your words count there is no replacement for good writing.

My advice about skipping or summarizing the simple tasks.
Sometimes somethings are best left unsaid and left to the readers imagination. Keep it simple in this case.

-Sheryl

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