Creation

Writing a story is like having sex… exciting, fun, heart-pounding, sometimes messy and awkward, but always enjoyable when there is passion involved.

Then, editing is like raising the child…

Active crows

I’ve always felt drawn to crows, but lately I’ve been feeling more and more interested in them. Something about their eyes and their behavior radiates mystery and intelligence to me. I think my next novel will involve crows in some way…

But, it also will involve active characters. In editing my novel and my novella, I’m noticing that despite how much I espouse having driving, active characters… my own characters are not super active themselves. Sure, they make choices and have consequences, but they could use a bit more passion and urgency. It’s true that not all people are passionate or urgent, but… those aren’t commonly the people one wants to read about…

Write and learn, I guess!

Picture book?

My novella has some pictures in it, and strange things done with the formatting. I wonder how that will go over or who will like and dislike it…

I need to take one more picture to stick in there, and finish editing of course, then I will get to hear from some readers whether all these strange things I’ve done work or not.

Here’s hoping! At least they are easy to take out if they don’t go over well.

Finally editing

Enough with short stories! I’m finally getting some momentum on editing my longer works and moving toward them being ready to submit somewhere. My optimistic goal is to have both my novel and novella ready to send places before winter is over.

Very optimistic, I know…

Gerunds

I hate them! I am going through my novel and highlighting all of them. Of course, not all are bad all of the time, but I think they are a good indicator of where a sentence can be improved.

Ing, with, still, again, had been, began to, was, etc. Lots of words that can be perfectly fine, but often are not. I see them as red flags. And a lot of red flags in one area means I should probably improve that area…

Chop chop!

Dual mind

Writing takes love, self confidence, optimism, and hope in order to complete anything. But editing, I am coming to believe, takes hate, pessimism, and self-disgust.

A writer has to be two people, two halves isolated from each other–the writing half is an excited person full of energy and love for the words they are creating (ideally). But when its time to edit, you better hate those words enough to slash them to pieces and bury them in an unmarked grave, all while laughing and spitting on them for how terrible they are.

Have I mastered this? I don’t know. But it helps, I think, to imagine the words as someone else’s. Some other me who is a terrible writer and I can scoff at their incompetence and point out every single flaw. Then once everything is highlighted and marked and notated, I can turn back into the creative optimist and fix it all up.

That’s the plan anyway. It is pretty hard!

Word Peevs: we all have them!

Often times:   Why don’t you just say ‘often’?

Begs the question: 95% of the time you mean ‘raises the question.’

Familiar pronounced as Fur-miliar: Unless you are talking about your cat…

The problem is, is…: The thing is, is this is really annoying for me. The question is, is this annoying to anyone else?

Don’t get me wrong…: Whenever I read this, it irreversibly changes the tone of whatever I’m reading into a sing-songy newscaster kind of voice. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you’re going for, then do it! But otherwise, you might want to pick a less cliche phrasing.

Structuring sentences like this: “Turning in my chair, I vomited with irritation.” Instead of “I turned in my chair and vomited with irritation.” Or “I turned in my chair. Irritable vomit spewed forth.” Even worse is stringing the ings like “Turning in my chair and vomiting with irritation, I read this sentence.” Even worser if EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE is structured this way.

Scantily-clad: Another cliche, but this one particularly annoys me because nowhere else ever are the words ‘scantily’ and ‘clad’ used, except right next to each other. Please say something else.

And here are some from my writing/editing friends:

I’ll be there in three days’ time: Three days. Just, three days. Would you ever say “I’ll have three pounds’ weight of carrots please.” No, you wouldn’t.

For all intensive purposes: This is a double annoyance because the correct phrase, ‘for all intents and purposes’ is redundant.

Reply back or respond back: Could you reply forward, or to the left?

Unthaw: I have never heard this but have been assured it is a real thing people say when they mean ‘thaw’, not an ironic way to say ‘freeze’.

Alot: A lot, as in one lot of stuff. I have a bad feeling this will end up in the dictionary eventually, though.

I could of died: I may HAVE died just reading that. Please send help.

Definate: This is not a word. Please pay attention to the squiggly. It knows more than you.

Proberly and suposably: Probably you should read a book now and then. Supposedly it helps with understanding what words are.

Per se: I know some people who say this all the time, per se. I wonder, per se, if they know what it means.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more and post them as they strike me…

What are your word peeves?