Friday, April 23, 2010


Just as I got started on Dragons of the Watch, I got the edits for Two Tickets to a Christmas Ball and Dragons of the Valley back from the editor. That means you go line by line and approve or disapprove of changes made. (Usually the changes are minor like caps and punctuation.) and there are some places where you actually re-write a paragraph or sentence for clarity. I always know what I mean, but sometimes the reader doesn't.

Writing tip: Avoid there is, there was, there were at the beginning of a sentence in your narrative. You can let them ride in dialogue, because people talk like that. But outside of dialogue, using there+to be verb is lazy writing.

Most often this blunder occurs in description:

There was a flowerpot teetering on the windowsill .

A flowerpot teetered on the windowsill.

There was a curl dangling over one ear.

A curl dangled over one ear.

There was an old sofa in the room, centered against the opposite wall.

Centered against the opposite wall, a sofa squatted as if it had been mashed into the floor by a hundred elephants.


  1. Thanks for the tips! It's good to see you back on the blog :) God bless you as you're writing your new tale,


  2. So glad you are blogging. I'll be checking my manuscript tonight with your suggestion.

  3. Very good! I just finished blogging on passive verbs and phrases, but I probably should have put something in there about this little detail too, eh? Maybe I'll just post a link instead... you say it so well, Mrs. Paul! Thanks, :)

  4. I particularly like your rewrite of the last example with the sofa trampled by elephants. Those elephants should trample the "there is/was/were" construction while they're at it.

  5. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I did a lot of 'There is' and 'There was' in my first draft today. Now time for editing.
    I greatly appreciate your knowledge and sharing it with us aspiring writers.

  6. That's very helpful advice. Thanks!

  7. I especially like the last rewrite about the elephants. =D

  8. Thanks so much for this tip. I went through my work and reworded several sentences to be more interesting.