Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Humor - irony

Part of chapter 21 done; 37320 words
Writer's tip:
One pattern of humor is two straight sentences and then the unexpected twist.
My dog chews leather shoes.
Old ones?
No, I think the mailman's shoes are new.
I can't give you the exact sentences from chapter 21 one where I used this pattern. It would give too much away. It did involve a sword and a nightshirt.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Finished Ch 20; 36038 word count
Writers hear the advice to avoid -ly words. This is good advice, but when people are talking they often pepper their sentences with the -ly adverbs. Eliminating them makes the conversation sound stiff and unnatural.

"I'm fairly sure these were planted here by Obidoddex."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Word Choice

Starting Chapter 20; 35,657 words
Writing Tip:
Word choice is so important. A few changes make a world of difference.

The setting sun reflected off the smooth surface, making the water look pink.
"making . . . look" just doesn't have any ambiance connected with it.

The setting sun reflected off the smooth surface, tingeing the water an unreasonable pink.
By changing making to tingeing, I also got rid of the look. It also reminded me that Bealomondore is an artist. He thinks more poetically than another might.

I played with an adjective for pink. Unbelievable? Salmon? Impossible? Sunset? Brilliant? I finally settled on unreasonable, but I wouldn't doubt that my crit partners may make me change it.

PS This comment is being inserted after the original post. The crit partners approved of unreasonable pink.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Too Much

Finished Chapter 19; 34,534 words

Writing tip: I wrote a sentence and then looked at it with my editor eye. I began trimming.

Her tight muscles complained as she followed Rayn’s directions to slowly stretch each set to loosen them.

It was just too long, saying more than was needed. First of all, why say "to loosen them"? I already said they were tight muscles so it is pretty apparent the stretching was done to loosen them. I have pretty intelligent readers. Authors should respect the brain power of their audience.

Do I have to say "each set"? Nah. How many of you quickly stretch? I didn't hear anyone say, "Me, me!" So slowly gets deleted.

Now the sentences says,

Her tight muscles complained as she followed Rayn's directions to stretch.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Oh dear: Still Chapter 19; word count-33,903
As you see, yesterday was not particularly productive. But I do have a
writing tip: Smiling is one of the things our characters do that can be really taxing for the author. While we have other words to chose from (sneer, smirk, grin, beam), the list is slim. So we might resort to -ly adverbs (broadly, widely, stupidly, sadly, wisely, disarmingly). Aack! One of those used every ten chapters is probably acceptable, especially sadly. Sadly tells you a whole lot about the mood of the scene. He smiled sadly at the news his grandmother passed on and is no longer in pain.
Here is the way I got around the problem in yesterdays punt word count. (Picture author beating head against wall over lack of productivity.)
Notice how the line about the smile (called an action tag) sets the tone for how the rest of the man's dialogue sounds in your head as you read.

“Good afternoon.” His smile reinforced his cheerful greeting. “Business has been rather slim these past few weeks. We’re mighty glad you stopped. Come ashore and rest a bit. My mom makes the best traveler’s stew on the river. We’ve clean, soft beds, and bathtubs on every floor, and even a shower on the second.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Chapter 19; 33,702
Writer's Tip: Not lost like a the TV show, but a lost character. As I looked over the scene I wrote yesterday, I realized a very important minor dragon was on the first and second page, but disappeared on the third, fourth, and fifth. No, he is not gifted with invisibility. The other characters were busy, and I just forgot him. So I went back and placed him on each page. He fit into the action on each page, so it wasn't to arduous. It is not necessary for every character who is known to be in the scene to appear on every page. However, ignoring someone for three whole pages is rude. Not only you have forgotten his presence, but the reader has as well. When he suddenly appears again, it knocks the reader out of the story. And that is not good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day One

Presently I am working on the sequel to The Vanishing Sculptor. This one is The Wandering Artist.
I'm on chapter 19; word count is 32,519.
Writer's Tip: writing tighter. Eliminating verbosity for clearer meaning and/or smoother reading.

First draft of the sentence:

Tipper gritted her teeth against the pain that shot from her foot, up her shin, and beyond her knee.

Edited version:

Tipper gasped as the pain shot from her foot, up her shin, and beyond her knee.

The red flag in the original sentence is the word "that." As soon as I saw "that," I knew to reread and rewrite if possible. A writer does not have to eradicate all "thats" from her work, but it is good to see if the sentence would benefit from rephrasing. I switched from "gritted her teeth" to "gasped" not because I wanted fewer words but because I acted out in my mind what reaction I would have to the first time I took a step on an injured foot. I would grit my teeth on the second step. On the first, I would be surprised by the severity of the pain.