I’m making some changes to the blog.
Mondays will still feature comprehensive interviews with not-yet-published and debut romance novelists, but I’ll no longer be posting them on Thursdays. Instead, I’m adding two new features.
In my former life, back when wrinkles were on my clothes and not my face, I worked for a small textbook publishing company. After several years in the accounting department, I was blessed to join the editorial team as an assistant editor. My work was varied and fun. One of my tasks was copyediting. Since I’m a detail person who is a tad bit OC, I had a blast.
I’ve used the skills I learned on the job to polish my stories in an effort to make them shine. In addition, I’ve shared what I know with my awesome critique partners, with talented writing pals whose have bravely allowed me to read for them, and with contest entrants, whose work I’ve judged.
I’m all about helping others and passing on what I’ve been taught. So, I’m going to offer one tip each Wednesday. Since not everyone likes to edit as much as I do, I’ll endeavor to keep these posts short. My goal isn’t to put anyone to sleep. What I hope to do is give you little bits of info that can help you tweak your story.
So, without further ado, here is the first tip.
• • • • •
I completed my first story, all 150,000+ words of it, in a little over two months. My monstrosity, er, manuscript was one of the draftiest drafts known to mankind. I committed every newbie mistake possible—and invented some new ones, I’m sure.
Now, you might think that as a former editor with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication/Print Journalism, I would have learned to write tight.
I was (and still have a tendency to be) a wordy writer. Think Dickens. Since he was paid by the column inch, I think he had good reason to wax eloquent.
Today, however, novelists have to make every word count. One way to do that is seek and destroy weasel words. (I first heard this clever term from Angela Hunt in a workshop she taught at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2008.) These unnecessary words sneak into our sentences and slow them down.
As I read the story that I had poured my heart into, I noticed that I had a problem, one that I desperately needed to address.
Yes, I had a problem with the use, or overuse, of the word that. The previous paragraph serves as an illustration. I used the word three times, and it’s not necessary. The meaning is clear without a single that, as I demonstrate below.
As I read the story I had poured my heart into, I noticed I had a problem, one I desperately needed to address.
See how getting rid of that tightens things up?
Now, at times that is necessary. For example: I like Taco Bell and eat there several times a day. What do you think of that? (Yeah, I’m addicted. :-))
These days I make use of the find feature in Word to look for the word that and eliminate as many occurrences as I can.
And that takes care of that.
• • • • •
I have something new planned for Fridays as well, so stay tuned . . .