This week’s blog is about backpacks, those appendages with straps we slip our arms through, fill with stuff we think we need, and haul around on our backs like turtle’s shells.

An author leading a workshop I attended used the backpack example to advise against loading up a novel with stuff the story doesn’t need; scenes that don’t advance the plot, descriptors that clutter, characters that enter and depart for no apparent reason.  She labelled these unnecessary diversions stuff that we ask our readers to haul around in their imaginary backpacks.

Have you ever picked up a book you couldn’t finish and didn’t know why? Maybe the author loaded your backpack with too much stuff.