Our Round Robin question for August is: Do you
have any character habits or favorite words that always crop up in your
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.
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.
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
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.
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 http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2ow
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
Hi Victoria! You are right about editing although it took me a long time and several books before I became aware of my redundancies. My editors helped. Good post!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Rhobin! I think a good editor is worth their weight in gold.Delete
Great advice - just get the story told, then go find all the redundancies and skip perfection, it doesn't exist.ReplyDelete
The closest I've ever come to it is when I've written THE END and know I'm happy with the result of all that work.ReplyDelete
I relate to your post, including Nora Robert's advcie about the blank page. And the importance of editing.ReplyDelete
I have several writing craft books on self-editing and have found them all useful.Delete
Great post, Victoria. I think we've all enjoyed the chance to 'out' our misdemeanours. I like the expression 'crutch' word. I do that, too. anneReplyDelete
I recently finished a beta read for an author friend and in her latest book her crutch word was 'remarkable.' It made me chuckle everytime I highlighted it. It makes me wonder what mine will be when she gets to read my next book!Delete
Ah, yes, "very." One of my former faves. I try to purge as many as possible. You are correct that it's better to keep writing and do the self-editing later.ReplyDelete
I think we could write a series of puns on all our wonky words!Delete
As an English major, I did my honors colloquium on the teaching of writing. I've boiled my advice down for the students I've taught over the years, who freeze when facing a blank page--or blank screen. My advice? "Barf it out quickly, clean it up later." I tell them anyone can help them edit their work to make it better--and BTW, there's no such thing as perfect in writing. No matter how many times you or anyone else has edited it, it can ALWAYS be improved. But if you don't follow your thoughts and barf them all out as quickly as you can, without lifting your pencil or your fingers, then you'll have nothing to work with.ReplyDelete
Of course the students laugh when I tell them my advice. That's why I say it like that--it sticks in their heads that way. Hopefully they'll take my words to heart.
Barf it out - I like it!Delete