I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript. Yep, you can join in the fun, too. Let’s take a looksee at topic #11
11: Avoid sounding ‘writerly’. Better to dirty up your prose. When you sound like a writer, your voice has crept in and authorial intrusion is always unwelcome. In the best writing, the author is invisible.
My take on this, is to not always be perfect.
I have to admit… I’ve started sentences with “and” and “but”. Correct? No, of course not. So why do it?
Voice is very important, especially in first person. Your character is narrating the entire story. Do YOU think in complete sentences? No, of course not.
We need to write how it is believable.
I recently had an editor try to “correct” this paragraph of dialog:
“You’re pretty, and have nice legs, and beautiful brown eyes, and an amazing smile if you’d ever use it, but you can’t see all these great things because you’re always too hung up on wishing you had what everyone else does.”
They wanted me to change it to be grammatically correct. Their suggested edit:
“You’re pretty, have nice legs, beautiful brown eyes, and an amazing smile if you’d ever use it…”
The reason I pushed back on this is because the character is very emotional and upset. He is rattling off a list of things popping into his head (and not thinking at all what he is saying) The editor’s suggested change made it sound like he was dictating a letter with no emotion at all.
Luckily, despite not being ‘correct’ – my dialog stayed. It is more believable this way, and conveys ten times the emotion.
Have you ever had to defend your choice of “bad” grammar/style?
Click here to tweet: Write bad to write good. Rule #11 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever from @jennifermeaton
Wait a minute… I just spent two months writing to a deadline. Now I have more deadlines? Yikes!
Wow, the day after the contract was signed, all the “stuff” came flooding in. Tons of emails, and tons of information. I knew that there would be a lot to do, but I must admit, when I saw it spelled out, I was a little daunted.
One of the emails contained a very long list of things that need to be done before the target release date. Thank goodness, many of the things on the list are dates when the publisher needs to do things. But there are things that I need to do.
Ugh. Editing. I figured I would need to do a little work on it, but I was a little surprised when they asked me to go through LAST WINTER RED and look for about 50 possible things that the editors will flag, so it will be as clean as possible before they have to review it.
I am using a computer program to analyses my manuscript, and it’s surprising when a computer highlights possible problems how many things pop up that you don’t see when you read. As always, I don’t agree with everything the computer says. A computer does not, or instance, understand that you are looking for an emotional reaction when you purposely repeat a word five times in a paragraph, and that it was intentional…but in the instances where it was not intentional, I was able to make the changes, and the sentences are much stronger.
That is where I am now. There are about six different reports to run like this. Some of them overlap, but it is a lot to look at, and a lot to consider (see that… duplication of “a lot” for an emotional response… are ya feeling emotional?)
Anyway…tons to do, and now there is a new deadline, and five other authors in the same boat counting on me to finish in time.
Posted in Road to Publication
Tagged editing, Emotion, Emotional intelligence, english language, Fiction, getting published, Intelligence, Manuscript, novel, point of view, Protagonist, publish, Publishing, revising, Short Stories, Short story, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, writing, Writing and Editing, Writing help
This is one of those “type things out to clear my head” posts.
I’ve written before that if one person makes a comment, consider it. If two people make the same comment, seriously consider it. If several more people make the same comment, revise.
I’m wavering on this one, though.
When I request beta reads, I ask for people to express the emotion they feel in each chapter. A few people have said that my villain gets off the hook too easily.
Now, are they expressing an emotional response, or do they think that’s an error on my part? That is what I am trying to figure out. Even after questioning them, I am still not quite sure.
For one thing, they all would have squawked at my first seven or so drafts, where he completely got away with it. I’m at least happy with my decision for him to get caught.
I can’t have him die a horrible death though, because then he can’t come back with a vengeance to really screw with Magellan’s head in another book.
I guess the visceral reaction of people is that if someone kills almost a hundred people with no remorse, he should get no less than that in the end. The problem is that my villain is just too much fun. Everyone has said that he makes their skin crawl, but they love it. He is a great character, and I want him to come out and play again.
I think the problem might lie in the fact that you see him get caught, and you see the initial “punishment”, but you don’t get to see the aftermath… but if I do go and show the reader that aftermath, it will get red-lined because that is not intrinsic to the main-plotline for a POV character to be there to see it.
I don’t really have to show you the aftermath… I can show you the emotional response of the aftermath from another character’s POV. I can intertwine that into the main plotline as the characters move into the final scene.
That’s it! I got it! I knew talking to you guys would help. You are all so smart!
Gotta go! The idea is bursting out of my head, and I need to write it down before it disappears!
Posted in General Writing Tips
Tagged beta partner, beta reader, beta reading, Blog, Characters, critiquing, editing, Emotion, Empathy, Fiction, Manuscript, Narrative mode, novel, Online Writing, point of view, Protagonist, Reading, Villain, Writer, writing