28 June 2013, Writing Ideas - Watch Words
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
Now I'm really giving away my writing secrets. You can see more writing secrets
at www.ldalford.com. I use this list to
refine my writing. I do a search for these words and constructions and get rid
of those that don't make sense. Most of the time none of these make sense. To
the maximum extent possible get rid of the words that define these weak
constructions. I will give some specific examples
weak present participle constructions like:
He was walking.
past tense verb constructions like)
Stay in the past
tense. Movement into the perfect tense makes tedious reading. If you must
introduce an idea in the past shift to the perfect tense for only a couple of
sentences to introduce time sequence, then transition back to the past tense.
Otherwise the use of the word "had" can be easily replaced with much stronger
and direct verbs.
He had a cat.
(can be changed to)
He owned a
He possessed a cat.
He loved his cat.
Don't tell us
how someone feels especially by adding adverbial descriptions of speech. Instead
show us how they feel.
"I don't like cats," he said disgustedly. (not
"I don't like cats," he said with disgust. (a little better)
don't like cats," he gagged. (very good)
Same problem as
had. There are always stronger verbs that are more descriptive. Plus, was and
were are used to move into the subjunctive case. The use of was is reasonable
for identity statements, but these should be reduced as much as possible. For
She was a teacher. (Okay)
She taught children.
Gotten is rotten. Got is rot. Just don't use
them. You can find so many other ways of saying the same thing without using
these words. Instead of got, in almost every case, you can use
Even is okay if you are using it to describe a level
area or idea, it is usually redundant as in:
Even the cats didn't like it.
The cats didn't like it. (better)
Everyone including the cats didn't
like it. (exactly the same statement, still redundant, more
Said is dead. Don't use said to tell us what a person
"I like you," she said. (bad)
"I like you," she gushed.
"I like you," she kissed his lips. (best)
don't do it. Utilize means the same as use. It is a redundant word without any
purpose. Always use a smaller shorter word when it will do. That is unless you
want your character to sound pretentious and overinflated.
part of the point. In conversation, these words may be used to convey a specific
idea about the character. The use in the narrative and descriptive construction
of the text is not a good idea.
See more writing secrets at www.ldalford.com
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.