Cleaning House

21 06 2013

Company’s coming! Run the vacuum. Pass the mop. Polish the furniture.

Editing a manuscript is a lot like cleaning house–remove the clutter, rearrange if necessary, and tweak until it shines. The greatest tool in the world comes to you courtesy of “Edit” and “Find”. Find what needs changing. Start with your last sentence. Is So really necessary? It’s easy to let useless words clutter your manuscript. May I suggest? Words such as: so, very, that, although, yet, rather, just, nearly, even, almost, perhaps, quite, then, and suddenly may very well be gumming up your flow of thought. 

Avoid the use of redundant words and phrases and cut out the obvious. “Down at his feet”. The very same goes for punctuation, no need to over explain the use of a question mark or exclamation point. Review your adjectives and your reasons for including them. You want to manipulate the senses of your readers, not lose their interest before you have shown your best room in the house. Don’t just use words such as cold, hot, mean, or kind in passing. Use the opportunity to direct your readers emotions in preparation for the next reveal. manuscript

Sometimes the use of a metaphor will give the reader an even better sense of description. You want to show not tell your reader what a character is experiencing. You can do that by giving the reader a vibrant description about a particular instance. Substitute robust, concrete adjectives, throw in a few metaphors, and the reader becomes an active participant in that particular scene–feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling what the character is experiencing. In this you’ll kept the text active.

Watch any tendencies to recycle some choice words a little too often. Do you tend to use the same words over and over? BORING! If I may use a cliché, variety is the spice of life. Check for those words that occur frequently throughout the manuscript and substitute another similar word. Check for words such as felt, knew, figured, and heard. Omit these words by explaining how the character felt and what he heard or saw. You don’t need to indicate a character looked at someone before speaking. That’s assumed. 

Spell check only checks for spelling, not usage. When in doubt, check the dictionary. What else should you look for when editing? White space – make sure you don’t have lengthy segments of narrative. Dialog helps to keep up the pacing. Remember, cleaning up your manuscript is just a matter of taking out the trash.


A Place to Write

18 06 2013

Do you need peace and quiet to write or do you prefer company and bustling activity?

When finding a writing place, it’s important that you find what works for you. When you start taking advantage of every writing opportunity you get, even when it’s noisy, you begin to savor those productive writing moments. If you have little ones, can you write while they’re sleeping? Could you stay up an extra 10 minutes while everyone is asleep or wake up earlier? Take advantage of those quiet moments, if that is what you need, as much as you can. Plan your quiet writing time around everyone else’s quiet time. Maybe you could get a few minutes of writing in while you’re in the bathroom (pretend, if you have to!) or maybe you could go for a walk and take your notebook with you.
Look beyond your residence. Maybe that place is in a study room at the library, or on a park bench, in a cafe (why does this sound familiar?), on the bus or sub-station, or in a public museum. When you set out into a writing career, it’s important that you’re able to reach your goals. Otherwise unhappiness will consume you and you’ll be sucked into a life that doesn’t satisfy you. Life isn’t supposed to be about struggling; it’s about building relationships with people and having an impact in their lives. Stop taking the easy way out by saying “It’s too hard” or “I don’t have time” or “I’ll write when life is not so hectic”.
If you want to be a writer, you need to start acting like one. Get the writing done. Find a way and make the time. You owe it to yourself to do that. There will never be a better time. If we want to be successful writers, we need to adopt a determination to continue despite the circumstances. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, we need to do it. We owe it to ourselves and our happiness.

Musically Inspired

11 06 2013

More times than you can, probably, count you may have heard a song on the radio, on a commercial, during a movie and found yourself transported to another place and time. Reminded of a moment you’ve experienced, a memory, and then feel everything you felt back then.

Music has the ability to move us—our memories and our imaginations.

Turn on music that you love. Listen carefully. Start writing. How does the song make you feel? Focus on the feelings—joy, sadness, triumph, love, regret. Write a piece that conveys the same emotion. What do you think about? Some lyrics tell a story; expand on that story and take it further. The song may give you a portrait of a character; fill in the blanks to create your own scene or imagine a reason or environment in which this character would develop these traits. The lyrics may take you back to a time in your past; relive that memory for inspiration and write your own experience. Writers are always encouraged to write what they know. What story would feature this music as the soundtrack? Imagine your story into a movie (we can dream, right?) and this song will be on the soundtrack. Use the song to dream up a movie-worthy plot or envision a new setting or character.

Start with the song of your choice, maybe one you have not heard in awhile, or one that always gets you singing and moving. Listen to it start-to-finish, while keeping the questions above in mind. Write whatever the song inspires, whatever you imagine while you listen (you may need to channel Disney on this one!). And let creation take over without judgement and


Independent Consultant, Rodan and Fields Dermatologists

Relating To You

A site for learning about and sharing what you know about relationships we all deal with.

Darlene Craviotto

Can you all hear me in the back?


Living inside a Delicious Relationship with the Divine

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