Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cut these Words

Weak Verbs
Scan your manuscript for weak verbs that rely on an adverb (-ly word). For instance: talk quietly or walk slowly. Cut both the weak verb and adverb. Replace them with a stronger verb. In this case: whisper or stroll.
Under Edit on your computer, use Find to search for these weak verbs in your manuscript.
do, had, have, get, got, goes, make, put, show, take, tell, was, went, could, should & would    

Filter Words
Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway discusses the use of filter words. “Filtering is when the writer forces the reader to look at rather than through the point of view character’s eyes” (Burroway 2010). Deleting these words shows the reader what’s going on instead of telling. They distance the reader from the story. It’s one extra step the reader has to take in order to experience action with the character. Only use filter words when it’s critical to the meaning of a sentence. Here’s a list of filter words to look out for in your manuscript:
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft & Writing Poems W/Workshop Guide to Creative Writing Value Pack
  • can
  • to hear
  • to look
  • to realize
  • to notice
  • to feel
  • to touch
  • seem
  • to know
  • to start
  • to sound like
  • to seem
  • to think
  • to see
  • to decide
  • to watch
  • to wonder
  • begin
  • to try

Friday, February 8, 2013

While Writing your Novel

Perfection Blocks your View
Taj Mahal in Agra, India is one of the Great Wonders of the World

Last March, I visited India's jewel. The Taj Mahal was constructed using white marble and inlaid with semi-precious stones. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan designed the grand mausoleum in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed around 1653, the Taj Mahal as well as the surrounding landscape are completely symmetrical. Ironically the one element that lacks symmetry is the Mughal Emperor himself. Shah Jahan tomb's lies next to his beloved wife who lays at the center of the mausoleum. 
What's my point? No body is perfect. But placing Shah Jahan's tomb next to his wife only adds to the beautiful love story of the Taj Mahal.

As a writer, I don't focus on being perfect. First drafts are meant to capture "what comes next" not perfect sentences. If I worry about writing right, instead of simply allowing the words to flow out and onto the page, then I'm frozen by writers block. 

Fear of imperfection does not create amazing characters and woven plot lines. So, I challenge myself and all of you to write without fear. And may the bodies lie where they wish. Happy Valentine's Day!