Daily Archives: August 22, 2013

Three Things Thursday

If you don’t think this is funny, we can’t be friends any more.


(Hahahahahaha! I love this woman! LOVE!)

Writing Hint:

I have been saying ‘no’ to adverbs for a long time. And to too many adjectives. But, they’re hard to see in your writing unless you make an effort to go looking for them. The same with repeated phrases. Here’s a story. A true, painful story. As I went through an edit of the DD with a St. Martin’s Press editor, she said in a note, “You keep repeating these phrases.” She made a list. A LONG list. It was nauseating how many times I said the same things. I was horrified. But I couldn’t see them before she pointed them out to me. I was too close to the work (which I have tried  hard to clean up–thank you Hope, Copy Editor, and everyone else at SMP).

This semester I will try something I did with my WIFYR class. Self editing, rainbow style. Here’s how it works: Print your manuscript. Get several colors of highlighters. Decide what to look for first. Was-ing words? ‘ly’ words? Adjectives? Repeated phrases? The words it, very, started, well, that (they can almost always go)? Now choose a color of highlighter. Reading for one or two things, mark the story. Maybe adjectives are in yellow and ‘ly’ words are in pink. Go through your book, one chapter at a time.

What do you have when you’re finished?

Marking your manuscript this way makes the weak writing visual, easier to see.

And guess what? You can do this in the opposite way, too. Look for strong lines, good metaphors, excellent story telling.

NOTE: You can do this on the computer, but seeing your work hard copy is VERY different than on the screen.


Here’s what dictionary.com says about the word brainstorm
“a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.”
So yesterday Kyra and I met to write. (We need to give ourselves more time each week because we have to visit with everyone and maybe eat [pulled pork sandwiches yesterday on grilled buns] and then we start.)  Kyra was doing a lot of heavy sighing and finally she said, “I don’t know what to do with this novel.”
We really talked about her book.
Was she headed the right way?
What was her story about, in 25 words or less?
Did she need to do this?
Need to do that?
Was that character really necessary?
What if she changed this part? Or that?
In the end, Kyra changed her whole novel idea. And she has a winner, I think. In fact, she has the whole plot in a little nutshell that she can grow the book from.
Brainstorming out loud can  help you when you get stuck. Find someone you can bounce ideas off.
Write your ideas down by hand.
Use paper.
Expand to a white board.
Think of other books. Ones that work, ones that don’t.
Below is a link to help  solve problems in the work place. Well, our work places are our novels, so I think some of these may help us, too.
Happy Writing!


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