Saturday, August 21, 2021

Our Round Robin question for August is: Do you have any character habits or favorite words that always crop up in your writing?

Oh, boy! Do they ever. But – that is what first drafts are for. Once I have started writing I try to keep going. I say try because I am a Virgo and if you know anything about astrological signs and their characteristics, you’ll know that Virgos are perfectionists. I like the first sentence, first paragraph, first chapter, to be perfect – except there is no such thing as perfection.

 I learnt by trial and many, many errors to get on with the story and took Nora Roberts’ advice to keep writing as you can’t edit a blank page. Quite apart from those niggling fillers like had, was, just, really, very—I could go on but won’t—I find that with each book I write I have a ‘crutch’ word.

 In one of my books my hero grinned so much I’m not sure that he would ever have straightened his face out if I hadn’t taken myself in hand and did a painstaking search to rewrite practically every instance of where I had him grinning. Likewise, a Regency heroine who was forever sighing. I’ve had my moments with ‘however,’ ‘especially,’ ‘nevertheless,’ and many more.

 But this is where self-editing comes in. Being aware of the nuances of what you’re writing means you can go over your work and search out those offending words which are often repetitious. The editing process gives authors a chance to not only weed out those wretched stumbling blocks, but in that process make their writing more powerful by re-writing sentences and phrases for more of an impact. (I struck this out as it means pretty much the same as more powerful and is therefore redundant.)

 Writing a book is not a solo effort. It may be in the beginning as it is the author’s idea, characters, plot and so on, and the first revision will include weeding out the repetitions and redundancies. The next stage will be beta readers who, if they are doing their job, will point out character or plot holes and often pick up a ‘crutch’ word the author may not have been aware they were using. After another round of edits and revisions, then comes the editing stage and quite likely another round of edits and revisions. It really does take a village to produce a book.

 And on that note, I’m going to check on my Round Robin villagers to see what they have to say. I hope you’ll join me in visiting:

 Anne Stenhouse

Skye Taylor

Judith Copek

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Beverley Bateman

Dr. Bob Rich

Fiona McGier

Helena Fairfax

Rhobin Courtright