Since I'm busy doing absolutely nothing, Gwen volunteered to take over my blog for the day and be totally awesome. Everyone be sure to comment.
Thanks for allowing me to guest post today, Jeanne. I hope you have a wonderful day off and a very Happy Birthday! You run along now – I’ll take good care of your followers today ;)
Now that Jeanne’s off having a good time on her birthday, I want to talk about something that is of the utmost importance to writers: Self-Editing.
Even though I’ve written my first book and am about to self-publish, I still consider myself a newbie writer. So I would never presume to try and teachyou anything, rather I’d like to sharesome of what I learned along my journey.
Self-editing is tough. We’re so close to our project that it’s hard to see it objectively, and that’s why we send our work off to our critique partners. Still, there are some things we can do first.
You know all the hype about those pesky “to-be” verbs? I had no idea when I started writing that they were a problem. These are words we use every day: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, and been.
What is so bad about “to be” verbs, you ask? Nothing, per se. I mean, William Shakespeareis the one who said, “to be, or not to be: that is the question.” He has three to-be verbs right there in one sentence. So obviously, if Will uses them, then they have to be okay.
So what’s the problem then? “To be” verbs can be passive, vague, confusing and general. In the writing business, that means weak.
Which one of these sentences do you like best?
Passive: “A secret gift was given to Jeanne by a hunky guy for her birthday.”
Active: “Daniel Dae Kim gave Jeanne a secret gift for her birthday.”
I took out “was given” and replaced it with “gave” instead. And now do you see what happened? The sentence became active rather than passive.
By the way...Mr. Kim is not the least bit passive. I mean, Look. At. Him. Daniel Dae Kim is smokin’ – if we had to label him using the parts of speech, he’d be an action verb!
And there’s so much more you can do to self-edit!
A freelance editor critiqued my book and provided me with a four-page list of self-edits that should be done before submitting your book. It includes how to format your MS, spotting filler words and quantifiers, weak “to be” verbs, and advice on dialogue, your first three chapters and other cool stuff. I would love to share it with you. Anyone who would like a copy, please contact me at email@example.com with your email and I’d be happy to send it to you.
Thanks for letting me fill in for you today, Jeanne! I hope you’re having a great birthday. And um, it couldn’t actually hurt to wish for Daniel Dae Kim’s secret gift while you’re blowing out your candles.
Bio: Gwen Gardner is a citizen of Blogtown and resides at Gwen Gardner, YA Author. Her first book, Givin’ Up The Ghost, will be self-published in October 2012 under the Partners in ParanormYAbanner.
Happy Birthday, Jeanne! Thanks for letting me fill in for you!ReplyDelete
I always search and destroy most of those words as well before passing it off to my critique partners.ReplyDelete
And while I can't comment on Mr. Kim, I can say YOU are awesome, Gwen!
Alex, thank you! I'm blushing:) I don't know why the photos I selected of Mr. Kim aren't showing properly, but I assure you, Mr. Kim is definitely an action verb!ReplyDelete
Happy Birthday Jeanne and thanks for the self-edit tips, Gwen. Those come in handy because that passive voice like to creep up quietly and hide in plain sight.ReplyDelete
Angela, yes it does. I tend to just write and then spend way too much time during the editing on those "to be" verbs!ReplyDelete
aggressive verbs steal the spotlight over wall flower verbs every time! great advice!ReplyDelete
Tara, nice way to put it!ReplyDelete