Showing posts from January, 2014

The Ing is the Thing

So... I admit I miss things when I'm editing. I'd like to say it's because my stories engage my mind so thoroughly (which is of course absolutely true!) But more likely my brain happily overlooks areas which will cause further work. Lazy Brain. And so I resort to my usual method: trick myself. This time I'm trying the "find" function (ctrl+f in wordprocessing) to identify passive verb constructions.  Just type in your search word and select "highlight all."  Just scan the page for highlights and make a decision to keep or slash. I started with "ing."  So much friendlier than the dreaded red pen. ( image by  Colin Brough via ) This search returned "cringed" and "boring" - hey, those ings are just fine.  Then I spotted "was running." Uh-oh! Delete. Replace with ran or jogged or sprinted or whatever the situation calls for. (Not ran, no I'm still on an adverb diet )

Embarrassing Revisions

I mentioned last week how my critiques and edits had been stacking up to an unmanageable pile. So with ReViMo as incentive I got busy. But things got embarrassing fast.  And not in an underwear showing while butt-in-chair way.  Worse. I found this in one of my critiqued pieces: He crept quietly into the house.    Seriously? I wrote crept quietly ? What the heck was I thinking?  I wanted to ensure the reader didn't think he was creeping noisily?  It gets worse.  I deleted the word quietly SIX times in one 1200 word short story.  If you add in other deletions of "quickly," "slowly," "apologetically"-- 1% of the story was adverbs. The embarrassment of walking around with an atomic wedgie would be less than what I felt that first day. "If they don't stop feeding us corn, we should stampede sometime tomorrow." (image by sista via There's more. Began stampeding Started scanning Was staring

Word of the Year

Lots of writers are posting their words for the year.  Looking at my January Action Plan, it's pretty clear what my word of the year is. REVISE! Confession to my critique groups: I still haven't done the revisions on the last, oh, 12 stories you've critiqued.  Yep, my bad.  This fall I have been struggling just to get manuscripts ready for critique each month. This makes me feel very guilty. If I were a dog, I'd have my tail between my legs.  The Emotion Thesaurus tells me people show guilt by blushing, sweating and staring down at my feet. (Handy book, that is!) And I value the critique so much, that it's like I was given a bag of gold, but haven't molded into rings yet. Just a big bag of shiny metal sitting in my closet patiently waiting to be honed into beauty. And that's the kind of thing that attracts pirates, and I'm so not in the mood for a pirate attack.  Ah yes, a good pair of old scissors. Just perfect to cut all those adjectiv