holy crap. a post from christy. i know. it's hard to believe, but here i am!!!!
I've got to have something in this rusty brain to share with you.
Something other than tales of heaping laundry piles, baby throw up, and late-night feeding infomercials. (By the way, there's nothing like channels and channels of beachbody and 60 day buns and 90 day abs and toned bodies to make me want to hit the treadmill.)
(Please, somebody out there tell me you had 3 or more kids and it took longer for your stomach to lose the hard,round baby bump but that you lost all the weight and then some and now look model-like....)
And besides all that.
I haven't written anything new. I totally miss writing. I've been busy revising after my CP sent me amazing notes and suggestions and edits. I'm still contemplating a tiny rearrange of scenes at the end of the manuscript so that the climax scene is a little closer to the final resolution and end of the story. Right now, it's a few chapters too far away and therefore the chapters after are anti-climatic and may lose the reader.
I've also been critiquing some writing. Since revising and critiquing is how I've been spending the majority of my writing time, I'll share some of the major things I've learned through my CP's notes to me about my writing and from critiquing other writer's work:
- Leave off sentence starters like -I feel, I see, I hear, I feel, I decided....to keep the writing active. Instead of "I decided to call the snot and tell her off once and for all." Just have the character make the call. "I called the snot to tell her off once and for all." Instead of "I saw her sitting in the front row." Write "She sat in the front row." The reader KNOWS it's what your character saw, felt, was thinking, etc.
- You can elimintate words. You can. Offer to critique someone else's chapters. Be a beta-reader for someone. It's so much easier to see wordiness in others writing. Then, when you go back to your own, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to edit it. In one of my revision sessions, after receiving notes from my cp (line by line edits) I cut over 300 words from ten -fifteen pages. That's a lot considering the words I cut were of the short variety: then, if, it, and, instead, just, really, as, I, etc. Because in our writing, as newbies, we try to be OVERLY descriptive and detailed. But what we really do is repeat reapeat. We are repetetive. We say the same thing over and over again. We share every minute detail of our character's moments. This leads to my next bullet.
- Stick to BIG. ACTION. IMMEDIACY. (I DON'T mean shoot-em up, explosions and run from the bad guy kind of action. I mean active writing. Active actions.) erica once mentioned in a post how many times her character breathed. Yes, romantic stories tend to have lots of breathing. Don't do it. I breathed. I sucked in a breath. I sighed. He sighed. We all sighed together. I gasped. I batted my eyes at him. I looked at him through my eyelashes. We stared at each other. I glanced at him. Oh, yes. We look at our love interested a lot too. I walked into a room. I sat down. I picked up a pencil. WHOOP DE DOO! Seriously. How exciting are those last few sentences? First, eye contact and breathlessness CAN add to tension. Once or twice in a story. Overdo it and well, it doesn't. Boring actions are...boring. Don't tell us your character walked in a room. Tell us what he/she was thinking about while walking in. Don't TELL us what he/she SAW. SHOW us what he/she saw or heard or felt.
- Only describe the important details. DON'T describe every minute detail of a setting unless it's important. Of course we want to be able to picture the scene. Do it concisely. We DON'T need to know how many knives and forks and spoons and flower petals are on the dining room table. A brief description of the coloring and types of materials and wood are enough to orient us and give us a $en$e of who might live in that house. Make sure the descriptions matter and tell us something important about a character.
- Okay, I probably have more...but I've gotten wordy again.
Off to feed a hungry baby and play Star Wars and army guys!