Bibbity Blogity Boo

There is magic in creation, a special feeling of euphoria that drives me to write. I love reading and the realization that I am creating something that will be read by others is empowering.

I started this blog to strengthen my writers platform, but it has given me so much more. New friends, a place to enjoy others’ writing and stories, feedback and encouragement and most of all learning. As I write my posts I research too. Sometimes when I research I’m inspired to write a post. Whichever it may be I’m learning as I go. My writing/editing/revising skills are improving and I find myself working harder. However it doesn’t feel like work.

It’s a non stop little cycle of learning as I blog and blogging as I learn. I stretch my writing legs and have tried new things. New perspectives, techniques and tricks. There is no magic wand to take my rough draft and poof it to perfection. I don’t have a literary fairy godmother and I don’t have a dashing prince to swoop in and slay the filter words and typos for me.

So instead of writing this:

They stopped kissing very suddenly and each backed up awkwardly and embarrassed. “We should talk about what just happened and what that could possibly mean.” Amber said feeling suddenly shy about kissing Dale so very passionately. She felt very attracted to him and after his very sweet romantic words. Like crazy, she wanted to desperately believe that he was telling the truth about being in love with her. 
“Yes Amber I absolutely agree completely to that, we do indeed need to discuss what transpired between the two of us just now. ” Dale said nodding his head very vigorously with agreement. “Do you to understand that I meant every single word that I said to you a moment before we kissed?”
Dale put his hand on her cheek. Amber closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them again. She looked into his eyes before she gave him a response.
“Dale I really do have feelings for you and I very much enjoyed kissing you. I would ask that you be understanding and very patient with me.”
“I can indeed be patient with you Amber.” He said with a delighted pleasant smile.
(272)

I now know about filter words, show vs. tell, interjections, emotion tags vs dialog tags vs action tags, ing-ing and the ly’s that stunt creativity. I now know about writing realism with words commonly used in real life. I know to ditch the tired pompous ones that only belong in period or historical books and the ones that are literally just filler. I also know to look for redundancies and my kryptonite words such as; really, that and very. Since during my first draft I spent a lot of time revising to reduce word count these skills proved invaluable.

Now I would write it like this:

Amber broke the passionate kiss. “We should talk.” Her cheeks flushed and she looked down at her hands. 
“Yeah we should.” Dale nodded and put his hand on her cheek brushing his thumb across a dried tear streak. “I meant what I said you know.”
She closed her eyes a moment before looking into his. “I know, and I am trying, I…” She licked her lips. “I like you Dale. Can you be patient with me?”
His lips curled up slightly. “Yes Amber.” He kissed her forehead. “I can.”
(89)

Wow, I’ve come a long way from blabbity writing with tired, filter and redundant words. I’m still wordy when I write, but so much less so than I was when I started this blog. And now I know how to fix my wordiness. I’m no longer tempted to lazy writing and dig in to make my writing the best it can be. By following the rules I’ve learned and shared throughout my blog I was able to revise and rewrite properly. As if by ‘magic’ I removed a whopping 183 necessary words. I’ll say ‘wow’ again. Big improvement and I still have lot’s to learn and therefore lot’s to share.

My advice about being open to learning.
You will get nowhere fast with pride and ego as your best friends. Take a moment to learn from others, whether they are better or worse than you are or think you are. Nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are related

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Are you inging too?

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 Tempted

Advertisements

In the eye of the beholder

Eyes are an obvious method to convey emotion.  However they are limited in possibilities. I bat my lashes as much as the next writer and I know a good glare when I see one. Relying on the eyes is not enough it is only part of the story.

The human body parts works as one, it gives away more emotion and can speak louder than words. Emotion is expressed in gestures, movements, facial expression and even breathing.

Now is not the time to get artistic. I know better than to mix angry actions with kind or shy with boisterous expressions. Keep it real, or the reader might not be able to play along. That’s right play along. I know I’m not alone in this, when I’m reading a scene and the protagonist bites their lip I sometimes to the same. If they hold their breath I might be mimicking the same. But only if the scene has pulled me in by showing me the emotion to the fullest. As I read I want to be in the story what better way than to be able to facially take part? I will attempt to get through the next part of Sasha’s story without a single eye reference, direct or indirect.

Lunch was a disaster. Across from Scott, Sasha rearranged the food on her plate with her fork, as he once again monopolized the conversation. He had cornered her at the office and insisted, she gave in not wanting to make a scene. After forty minutes of Scott flirting and bragging she paid her share and got up to leave.
“Hold on.” Scott called as he caught up to her outside. “What’s the rush?”
“I have a lot of work to get done.” She picked up her pace.
“Ah come on Sasha.” He grabbed her arm forcing her to stop.
Yanking it free she held her breath and pursed her lips.
“What do I have to do?” Scott lowered his chin and stepped closer forcing her back against the wall of the restaurant. “Why are you so afraid of men?”
“Afraid? I’m not afraid of men Scott. I’m just…” She pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. Upon releasing it she dropped her hand.
“Someone broke your heart huh?” He brushed the back of his hand from her chin along her jaw to her ear. The corners of her mouth fell, she turned her face from his as he moved to kiss her. He snorted, gripped her chin and moved her face and pressed his lips to hers.
Her hands pushed on his chest, but he held her tight. Again it wasn’t horrible, a pleasant warmth filled her chest beneath his tightly gripped hands. His soft lips pressed hard as his fingers pulled her chin to open her mouth. His gentle tongue moved too fast.  The mix of forcefulness and gentleness was wrong and she pulled her head back and shoved him hard.
“Don’t.”
“Why not? Give me one good reason. Not some crap excuse Sasha. I’m a dammed good catch for.” He clamped his mouth shut, her head tilted slightly to the side.
“For what Scott?” She waited for him to say ‘someone like you’.
“I’m a good catch for you, and you for me.” He smiled. “Why don’t we go out for some drinks tonight. Maybe dance and have some fun.”
“Not tonight I need to work on a project. Maybe another night.”
“Right, so you can find a more believable excuse later? Do you know why Amber is so hostile lately? Why the gossip is mostly about you?”
She opened her mouth and nothing came out.
“She wants me, but I want you. You, who wont even kiss me back for more than five seconds. You parade around the office cold and detached, apart from everyone, doing your own thing and upstaging everyone. Show some passion Sasha, for someone or something other than work.”
“I kissed you back isn’t that enough of a start?”
“I’m to be grateful your frozen lips moved, even if nothing else did?”
She walked away fast shaking her head fighting back tears. Scott apologized repeatedly and tried to recant. She didn’t acknowledge his desperate backpedaling. All she could think was ‘why is he backpedaling at all?

That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I know I rely on the eyes too much and am constantly working on alternate expressions. This is where closing my own eyes and envisioning the interaction is key. I wouldn’t cut out the eyes completely, but I’m more aware to rely on them less.

My advice about cutting out the eyes.
Give it a try, not literally of course, that would be gross and scary.

-Sheryl

A couple older posts:

Eyes that carry worlds

Ghosts that write stories

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Rearrange

Good or bad, they are driven by passion.

Passionate is a powerful word. It evokes an immediate strong emotional association with whatever it’s used with.

I wrote a passionate character, she runs high on whatever emotion she is experiencing and is so driven she is exhausting to write. Her passion for success is equal to her passion to be kind and fair. She is funny and frustrating and a wild ride of emotions. Her evolution is difficult and gradual. I try not to have people switch personality or suddenly become someone their not with no reason. (There is nothing worse than a complete mysterious out-of-place personality overhaul, unless it’s purposeful)

I enjoy researching personalities (An ongoing study). When it comes to passionate people there needs to be balance. Most everyone is passionate about something, but not everyone is passionate about the same things. This is important and can open up all kinds of opportunity for friction, argument or even violence. It can also aid in the growth and development of a character, and it is important, but it has to be believable.

I think of it this way, someone with a passion thinks about it often, and will bring it up whenever possible. Not just because they want to share, but also because they get a high from talking about something that riles them up. Someone with something to look forward to is likely the person to jump out of bed early – bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on the world. I make sure my character that is overly passionate gets excited easily, because that’s real.

Passionate people are emotional people it goes hand in hand. Whether they are passionate about books, cooking, sex, drugs, fighting crime or committing it. Passion doesn’t always mean good, there are some people that are passionate about being racist and bigots or causing pain.

Often a person who feels so strongly about something will live it fully, devoting their lives to whatever has them up early and shouting it to the world. They are risk takers, when driven they might do anything to keep their passion alive or achieve a goal. Maybe Joe steps on Sasha to get his dream job. That would create all kinds of drama.

Someone who is strongly attached to a passion can shut down just as easily as they are revved up. Especially when they are denied or fall short of their goal. This can spark a downfall or renewed determination. I use this as a great way to allow the character to soul search and grow into who I want them to become or switch gears. This is key because a person who is or has experienced the power of passion is usually someone who thinks positively. The go-getter or the one that doesn’t let others wallow in defeat. They want them to feel the joy they get so they are motivating.

Taking someone from a train wreck to successful leader cannot happen overnight. It can’t happen without ups and downs and it can’t happen without passion and drive.

On the flipside taking someone from an unnoticed-high-achiever to betrayer and ultimately enemy, takes finesse and a more subtle approach to their brand of passion to destroy or take over.

My advice about passionate characters.
There is a fine line between passionate and obsessive. My passions seep into my life they don’t control it. Take a look at people that are passionate and driven, are they awe inspiring or so annoying? Don’t forget they need contrast, the apathetic counterpart that inspires frustration.

-Sheryl

Oops! What did I just say?

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Passionate

Tag! You’re it.

When someone reads my work and complements it, it feels amazing. When someone reads it and criticizes, I look at the critic and weigh the value of their opinion. When someone offers advice or points out errors, I thank them.

Recently someone pointed out that I use taglines too much. No I don’t… Oh wait I totally did. Huh.
Here is an example from a rough draft.

Bill ran into Grant who was waiting outside the room.

“How’d it go Bill?” Grant asked annoyed.

“Well. He wanted a firsthand report on the events.” Bill answered.

“That makes sense.” Grant said angrily.

“He said to move them today Grant, all of them. Are the rooms ready?” Bill asked ignoring Grant.

Painful right? It was how I wrote the rough draft. Just to get it out. It wasn’t super important for me to make sure everything was perfect, that’s what editing is for. I even grabbed the adverbs, angrily and annoyed and stuck them in.  Here it is now.

Grant stood outside the meeting room with his hands clasped behind his back. Bill was meeting with the boss Mr. Stork alone, without him once again. He cleared his throat as the door opened.

“How did it go?” 

Surprised by the ambush, Bill stopped in his tracks. “It went well. He wanted a firsthand report on the events.” 

“That makes sense, but without me?” He folded his arms across his chest.

“You weren’t there and didn’t see what happened. Anyway, Stork said to move all of them today.” Bill started walking down the hall, taking note of the hostility. “Are the rooms ready Grant?”

I knew better, yet I still included he said, she said, he asked, she answered a lot. Are they all gone? No, of course not, they have their place. Sometimes simple is better depending on the situation. Putting in action instead of telling emotion can make it flow and read better. Action tags are not the same as Taglines. For example. One should not laugh, giggle, snort, or sigh words. I do this a lot as well. 

“No way.” He laughed.

I still want him to laugh so instead I would say.

He laughed. “No way.”

or 

“No way.” He covered his mouth and laughed.

I remember reading and being taught to use end of sentence tag lines and action tags. I got some fantastic advice a while back. “Show it don’t tell it. Make the reader see what you see.” People read he said or she asked like a period at the end of the sentence. It chops the reading flow off at the knees.

My advice about taglines and action tags.
Recognize them and get rid of them if they are unnecessary. Don’t Jeopardize your sentences with laziness. It’s a great opportunity to take drab conversation and dress it up. Search your work for words such as; said, asked, answered and smiled.  Don’t forget to look for those pesky adverbs that go so well with said.

-Sheryl 

 

If you liked this, check out some of my older posts, if you haven’t already.

No “Filter Word” Parking Here

Spell check doesn’t catch them all.

Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

 

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved