Monday, November 29, 2010

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Now that NaNoWriMo is coming to a close, I no longer have an excuse for lack of content in my blog. Hmm.

Anyway, I'm back to editing my other WIP and I think I have a few bits of advice for others also trapped within the tumbling castle. First of all: activate your writing. I know, it sounds cliche, but it's the best thing you can do. I have almost three hundred variations of the word "see" in my novel and it's bad.

You don't need your character to see/feel/hear something for it to happen. Eliminating the senses puts the reader right in the scene with the character, so if they're running from a shooter, so is the reader. But if you say "Eddie saw the gun point at him," it takes them right out. The gun isn't pointed at the reader; it's pointed at the character. They disengage, lose interest. But if instead it says "The gun leveled at Eddie's chest," you actually feel the gun pointed at you.

Unless there is a particular reason for the sense to be called up, (i.e. the scene where my characters were in an unlit tunnel and had to feel their way around), don't use it. Use a word that makes the reader feel it, not the character. Another example: "He felt the sun sear his back." Okay. But he felt it. What do I care? "The sun burned holes in his back." Better. I can imagine it happening to me now and ow, it hurts. 

Advice number two: "That" is a seductive word. Don't let it charm you with it's extra pause in your sentence. Unnecessary words are the enemy. As is inactive writing.

Oh, man. If this is what I pull out when NaNo is done, this does not bode well for the future. ; )


  1. Awesome advice. I'm currenlty working on weeding out all the 'sees' and 'felts' in my WIP :)

  2. Good advice. I look foward to reading your manusript. I applaud you for undertaking this challenge! Kuddos!

  3. I am in love with 'that'. OK in a first draft, but now I circle them when in revision / editing phase. Most go away.

    Good advice on the sensory / action thing.


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