Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Authors have to spend time doing unusual things. As a writer, I have spent the last few days proving that to be true by LYING. Oh, wait a minute, don't misunderstand. I was not telling untruths. My lying involved something totally different.
First, I did a search/find for all of the ly's in my manuscript. Doing this enabled me to identify many adverbs and remove quite a few of them, especially when they were redundant. One such example was "quickly rushed." How can you rush without doing so quickly? Another was "yelled loudly." Well, you can't yell quietly. I know I could save time by not using these adverbs in the first place, but when an author gets on a roll in a scene, he, or she in my case, doesn't want to lose a train of thought. So, we plug on and revise later.
The other syllable of lying is ing. And it's really easy to use too many words that end in these three letters. Of course, syntax is important, and sentences must vary in structure and length, but you shouldn't start every other one with a participle. This is an even bigger fault if you use the same words repeatedly. Waiting, turning, and making become boring in a hurry. Is it easy to avoid repetition and to rack your brain for appropriate restatements? Nope, but it's worth the effort.
One more thing. Don't forget to find those pesky exclamation marks and remove the misused ones, which is often quite a few. They tend to slip in where they aren't needed and an excess of them calls attention in the wrong way. At least they're easy to delete and replace.
It's no fun to sit at a computer for hours searching for these words and punctuation marks and revising accordingly. But readers often stop reading if they see too many of any of them. Revision isn't easy. It's like life. And if anybody ever told you life was easy, guess what? They were LYING! in the literal sense of the word.
I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment