I’m deep in revisions for The Matriarch’s Devise (the upcoming sequel to The Healer’s Legacy) and now that I have filled the plot holes, increased the conflict, and refined my characters, I am sifting through the manuscript in an effort to stamp out the overuse of my “favorite” words.
Don’t get me wrong, I love words. All kinds, shapes and sizes. BUT I find when I am writing a first draft, I have a tendency to over use certain words. Words like “look” and “head” and “away” often top the list, as do their related variations. And with every book, there comes a time in the revision process where these words must be made to pull their share of the load or be eliminated.
I appreciate “look” for its place-holding abilities and for allowing me to write without hesitation when in the creative stage of first drafting. But, let’s face it, not only is the poor thing generally overworked, he just doesn’t always have the right muscles for the job at hand. (And don’t tell him I said so, but he can be completely superfluous.) Continue reading
There is nothing like editing another person’s prose to make you see the weakness in your own.
Yesterday, I sat with another author, whose work I am editing, and pointed out some of the areas of opportunity in his writing. Cleaning up sections of passive voice, Point of View breaks, and favorite words and actions were some of the items I identified.
I made sure to remind him what was good about the work, as well as what could be done better. There is never a time when only the negative should be pointed out in another writer’s work, even if your job is to edit them.
But it also isn’t enough to tell another writer what you think could be improved in their work. It’s also important to give them examples of how to improve it, especially when they are still in the early stage of their novel writing journey. Putting on that editorial hat and coming up with suggestions for rephrasing a bit of writing, or using more action tags for dialogue and fewer pure dialogue tags, or adding a dash of foreshadowing or sensory flavor to the work, gets the creative writing juices going.
In addition to revisions for the sequel to The Healer’s Legacy (working title: The Matriarch’s Devise), I am currently collaborating on a comic with J. A. Giunta (AKA Joe) and the talented crew at T.R.I.B.E. studios.
Comics are a very different medium and, while I read them like crazy as a youth, I don’t read that many of them anymore. So, I had to dig in and do some serious research into the formatting of a comic book and associated scripting that gets handed off to the artists to render into a fabulous final product. I say fabulous because I have seen the way that artists can render a writer’s words into amazing artwork, as evidenced by the spectacular book covers and interior art created by Thitipon Dicruen and Keith Decesare for my novels.
I had a blast at the recent book-signing event at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. It was wonderful to see the fabulous MaryElizabeth Hart and the store staffers were warm and welcoming and made me feel like part of the family. The audience members asked a lot of great questions and we had an excellent dialogue during the author presentation and again after the actual book signing, as some participants stayed to continue the discussion.
Later, I met with the local writer’s group and we spent a couple of hours talking about all things writing. The Writer’s Group members are shared about their personal writing journeys and we discussed the current, yet rapidly changing, landscape of publishing. It was another fabulous discussion. While most of the members of the group write Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy of some kind, they also write in a variety of mixed-genres, and it was fun to talk to them about my experience and to hear them talk about their work. I enjoy these kinds of interactive gatherings and I always come away with new ideas and information.
A huge thanks and kudos to Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, MaryElizabeth Hart, the hardworking book store staff and the fabulous writers and readers who took the time to come out and say hello and buy copies of my books!
I read a comment recently in author Darcy Pattison’s newsletter that talked about the first draft giving the writer the opportunity to really figure out what the story is about and revision being the place to clarify this. I love reading Darcy’s posts on writing. She is one of the authors whose blog/newsletters I read on a regular basis. She is very generous and always willing to share what she knows and what she is learning about the writing process. Continue reading