I hope you all enjoyed the Fourth of July celebrations. We got a late start yesterday (9:00 am) and got stuck in traffic. After an hour we turned around and headed to our deck instead of the beach. We had a lovely day. How about you?
What are you reading this week? I’m reading: Playing Tyler by TL Costa.
Today I’m re-running an article I received from my publisher MuseItUp that I get a lot of requests for, it’s called Words to Look for When Editing.
What words should you never use when writing? Nada. That’s right all words are good though some words need to be used sparingly. Editing and revising seem daunting when you first start out, but eventually you’ll come to like the process. My publisher, MuseItUp, gave me a list of words to use sparingly before their full edit began. Words I’ve found, I used in my speech and peppered throughout my writing.
As you look at the list below, I want to remind you not to go overboard in deleting all of them, like I did on my first book. The editor had to add some back. I can’t stress this enough, there are times these words are the only words that will work in a sentence. If you can reword the sentence and it still makes sense, do it.
What did the list teach me? Before I submit a manuscript, I need to thoroughly comb it and hunt out these culprits. After I find them, I restructure the sentences for a tighter clearer, crisper delivery. What also amazed me by doing this is it improved the story by making my author voice more active.
Here’s the list:
|Will be||As if||As though||‘ly’ endings|
|Very||Were||Has been||Had been|
|began or began to||Use toward NOT towards||Use backward NOT backwards||Use forward NOT forwards|
My motto when in doubt, remove the word.
In the editing process, I discovered something amazing. I like editing. I’m always in awe when the restructured sentence comes alive, putting the reader in the action. It can be the difference between showing and telling.
Other items you should track down are the ‘he said/she said’ dialog tags or the overuse of tags. The dialog should be real and express the character’s feelings or mood at the time without you telling the reader how they should feel. Again there are times that tags, action tags and tags that distinguish the speakers are needed. It’s a judgment call and the longer you write the more comfortable you’ll be in their proper usage. Remember nothing is written in stone.
It’s your book, but it’s always wise to listen to your editor. You write for a living, they edit! They are your partners in the production of your book, not your enemy. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.
Next, especially as a new writer you need to examine your manuscript for frequent point of view (POV) changes. This is called head hopping and can pull a reader from a scene, thus your book, faster than a burning house. The rule of thumb that I’ve seen is one scene, one point of view (POV). I personally love head hopping, but only the most revered authors get away with it. I once said how I loved such and such an author, and the editor told me when I became her, I could get away with whatever I wanted. Lesson learned.
Lastly, examine you manuscript for repeated words within a sentence or paragraph. They are distracting and boring. Use a thesaurus to keep your readers engaged in the story.
A writer can get lost in the many ideas, rules and opinions on how a story should be written. I still say follow your heart and imagination. Along with a good editor your story will be readable, if not memorable. Remember to enjoy the process of writing and learning.
Bio: Marian born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, moved to New England in her teens. The seventh out of ten children living in five room apartment, she started reading and writing at an early age to escape into her own worlds. Marian’s educational degrees are in accounting because her father told her she needed a degree that would earn her a living. Many years later, while recovering from surgery she got back into the love of writing and soon after received a contract for her first novel If I Fail. Soon after she received her contract for her second book it the series, Burn in Hell. Marian’s a member of the RWA, CTRWA and SinC (NE). Before hitting the keyboard every morning she walks three to five miles.
Murder, sex, stalking—all in a day’s work for Lieutenant Jake Carrington. Until he finds, he’s the victim of a stalker. Who stalks a cop?