Filtering Filter Words

Filtering filter words post

Filtering Filter Words

Oh, those pesky Filter words. I talk about them a lot and for a good reason as I discussed in Filtering Out Those Filter WordsIt’s really very unnecessary and I’m ‘that’ kind of writer. Filter words are words that can easily be filtered out because they don’t have a significant impact on the sentence. They are crutch words that can make a sentence lazy, repetitive or even boring.

I will go through a story using the “search and replace” feature to highlight all the filter words in various colors as I mentioned in Well, color me silly.

Along with filter words I include are all ending in ING and all adverbs ending in LY. I also include exclamation points ! and question marks ?. Adverbs weaken sentences that have much more potential. I highlight ! because people don’t yell nearly as, much as they might be written to shout. Also, I try to limit the amount of rhetorical or narrative questions. In dialogue, they are fine, but I try not to pepper too many into the narrative.

So what are they? I have a long list of words that I have compiled over the years. Words that I tend to stick to sentences instead of better words. I lean on some more than others. Here they are listed in alphabetical order with the number of incidences that occurred for each within a book I’m currently re-writing, editing and revising. I like to multitask on the first modification of the first draft. The book is only 30,627 words, so these numbers are not too bad. I am looking to beef this story up and add a lot more words, but I don’t want the filter words etc. to drag the story down.

868      ing
566      was
421      ?
403      ly
343      that
174      is
158      But
152      up
145      know
145      said
113      look
109      can
108      hand
90       see
89       just
88       could
70       remember
62       think
61       head
60       eyes
59       Then
53       feel
52       very
50       ask
49       smile
49       than
46       !
46       hear
45       turn
43       down
43       move
40       been
36       – single dash
31       face
31       walk
29       try
28       well
27       bit or a bit
21       felt
21       knew
19       Really
19       saw
18       breath
18       understand
17       guess
17      reach
17       sigh
16       tried
15       touch
14       seem
14       sound
13       nod
12       grab
12       wonder
11       stare
11       watch
9        shrug
8        taste
7        realize
7        stand
6        hale (inhale exhale)
5        frown
5        somehow
4        able to
4        says
3        blink
3        however
3        notice
2        quite
2        replied
2        somewhat
1        ;
1        decide
1        experience
0        …
0        note
0        rather

Does this mean I get rid of them all? No. I will sometimes set a goal of say 50% or 75%. Depending on the word I may want to eliminate them 100%. It honestly depends on the word and how it’s used.

As you see some of those words had Zero incidences. That’s because I’ve learned. For them, they will probably stay put. I will take a look to make sure the sentence is good, but I’m not worried for any that are less than ten or zero.

The top five will always be the biggest offenders. The top ten are still the top ten. The next ten to twenty are worth taking a good look at.

I bet you’re wondering why “WAS” is up there? Voicing. Often I write WAS and IS interchangeable. I try not to do that. What I prefer to use is “IS” whenever possible. If I want WAS then I use it whenever possible. This is of course primarily for narrative, in dialogue the rules are different. I will try to keep a character consistent in their voice.

Action words such as, LOOK, SEE, TOUCH, SHRUG, SMILE, FROWN, NOD, etc. will be looked at carefully. There are better ways to describe actions and to show emotions too. These words are often found in sentences that TELL instead of SHOW.

If nothing more, I highly recommend looking at my top twenty. If you have a beta reader or if you use the feature on your word program to read your text back to you(This is awesome for finding small errors and sentence flow issues) If you use them you will notice words that you rely on too much. They may be on this list or they may not. But if you have words that appear more often than they should, it can put a reader off.

I keep track of the numbers for my own personal use. I will make a spreadsheet with the numbers from the first draft and recheck them (using the find feature) for each consequential edit or revise until I’m happy with the number of them I see.

My advice about Filter words
Find and destroy! Actually highlight them before you start editing or revising using the search and replace feature, then find a better way to write the sentence or find a better more valuable word. 

Don’t forget to check out and follow the Daily Word Prompt I host.Your Daily click

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/your-daily-word-prompt-multitask-september-11th-2018/

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Capitalization Space Case – Style #2

Capitalization Space Case

I had a count of 127 errors in Style. Most of them were Unclear Antecedent’s which I covered in the last blog. If you missed a previous blog, you can click on the purple link here that is crossed out to see that blog post. I’m not sure how I can fit the word prompt in for today’s post. I don’t own a dog of any pedigree nor do I buy pedigree dog food. Oh well, I’ll just continue with today’s post about my editing and revising fun.

Within STYLE are the following issues I had in my story:

1. Unclear Antecedent .
2. Capitalization at the start of a sentence
3. Incorrect Spacing
4. Incorrect Spacing with punctuation
5. Incorrect verb form
6. Inflated Phrase
7. Wordiness
8. Nominalization

I’m going to cover three STYLE issues on this blog since they are simple and most likely typo’s. These are easy to spot and easy to fix.

Capitalization at the start of a sentence
Incorrect Spacing
Incorrect Spacing with punctuation

All the examples are real and from my new book Prophecy (Names may be changed for example purposes). I took one sentence an put all three errors in it. The error notice from Grammarly is condensed on the right and can each be expanded, which I will show before the corrections.

111aFirst is Capitalization at the start of a sentence a simple grammar rule, but easily done by a typo. All spell check programs even word processors should catch this one. Heck, even I caught them when I proofread.

111b

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man  in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him .

Next is Incorrect Spacing. Another easy one to spot unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence or after punctuation. They might not show them as an error but are easily spotted by a proofread.
111c

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man  in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him .

The last is Incorrect Spacing with punctuation. This will be caught if it’s before or in the middle of punctuation. Extra spaces after a period are not always caught by programs because some people still write with double spaces. Single space at the end of a sentence is industry standard.

111d

Ray had to get back to work. There was an angry man in a hardhat and safety vest was calling him.

There the sentence is now correct. I know these are rookie mistakes and I know I make them because I’m not an accurate typer and my brain goes faster than I can type. That’s okay, it’s foolish to think I’m perfect, I don’t.

My advice about capitalization at the start of a sentence, incorrect spacing and incorrect spacing with punctuation:

Simple errors to make and simple to fix. No big deal. They are however important, if they show up in a manuscript that is submitted to a literary agent, it will very likely get your query tossed into the NO pile.

-Sheryl

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved
Pedigree

Word Counts By Numbers

I often talk about word count. It’s a big deal for me because I’m wordy. My newest book, Prophecy, is not a wordy book! Yup, that’s right I managed to keep it within industry standard.
According to Wikipedia, these are the classifications are Novel, Novella, Novelette, and short story.

Classification Word count

Novel 40,000 words or over
Novella 17,500 to 39,999 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,499 words
Short story under 7,500 words

I talk more in-depth about this in Stories Classified

These are the basic classifications of what a book is by word count. Novels are 40,000 +, so what does that mean? Well simply put each genre and subgenre have their own word count limits. This number varies greatly and seems to change the range values.
Professional editors and publishers told me that when in doubt, get it or keep it to mid or bottom of the range. (For the first novel)

Science fiction between 80,000 to 125,000
YA (Young adult) 45,000 to 80,000 (Midrange is best for this genre)
Horror 80,000 to 100,000
Historical fiction/romance 90,000 to 100,000
General Fiction/Literary Fiction/New adult 75,000 to 110,000 words max 70,000 is considered too short for a first-time author/published novel.
Science Fiction and Fantasy 100,000 words to 115,000 (Some say 125,000)
Mystery novels 40,000 to 80,000 words. This is a genre of disagreement on numbers; I’ve seen the recommendation for a thriller or mystery 90,000 to 100,000. I would keep it midrange or close to 80,000 to be safe.

Now I bet someone rushed to a shelf to pull a book or ten down to dispute the numbers. There are always exceptions to the rules (The lucky ones or not a first novel) or they are older books from older standards. Times are tough and the market is flooded with new authors looking to have their books published.

So what about… let’s say, Harry Potter? Some of those young adult books were well over the limit. Yes, they were but not the first one. In addition, JK struggled for years to get it published. Once she gained the footing in the industry and had a book under her belt, she could increase the word count without worrying about the limitations.

The limits are guidelines and they can be ignored. I learned from my own experience that it’s not wise to disregard time-tested advice and limits set by those who will actually be judging your work and deciding if it’s worth their time.

Now back to my new book. It is a TREAT to revise and edit a book without the gloomy cloud of ‘cut, cut and cut’ over my head. I’m not worried about trimming the fat (Hopefully, it’s not there).

It is currently at 73324 and I have room to fix and embellish some scenes without sweating the numbers. For the first time, I have to add words, which is super exciting for me. I still have to finish the filter word edit, but I’ll talk about that another time.

My advice about Word Count
While it’s important to keep your word count within the limits it’s more important to make every word count. After all, we want to keep the reader’s interest.

-Sheryl

Other Word Count related posts

The “word count” down.

Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 
Interest
 

Distracted By Distraction

Time is always an issue for me. Finding it to write and really get into it. Somedays I can plug along and find the simple errors others I can dig in and really get to the meat of some problems.

I’m in the middle of BiaAtlas re-write and it’s going well. My word count is coming down slowly but steadily.

When I’m writing there are several things that can cause me to become distracted or lose focus. Not all of them are bad and often they can be a reminder to take a well needed or deserved break.

Other people – It’s important to remember there are real living people in the world 😉
Television
The weather
My own thoughts – yes this is a real problem sometimes
Other projects (I have a new storyline I’m in the beginning stages of plotting)
Sleepy or tired – sometimes it’s just hard to stay focused on anything.
Work – this one is a necessity… but still…
Cleaning or chores
Reading

There are other distractions that I don’t have time for and have suffered for it such as video games and Facebook. The bottom line is there will always be distractions and I don’t freak out about them. I’ve talked about this before but I think if I’m being distracted there might be a reason for it.

The funniest distraction is the distraction by distraction. When I’m distracted simply by thinking about being distracted.

When I sit and start to work on editing my book it can be overwhelming. I’ve been through it countless times, I’m probably missing things right in front of me because I’ve been through it countless times. I have a plan for that and I’ll dive into that plan in a later post once I’ve done enough research to explain it properly.

For now, it’s one objective at a time seek out and destroy superfluous text and simplify. I’m on the hunt for repetition of ideas, phrases, comments, actions, descriptions, and anything I’ve mentioned more than once.

I will keep at it and keep my self-inflicted symphony of distractions to a minimum while addressing the important ones, the ones that tell me I need a real break. After all, a distraction is only a distraction if we need to be distracted.

My advice about distractions
Don’t ignore that you’re being distracted and figure out why it’s happening. Maybe take a break or do something random to reset your attention. Distractions are not always a bad thing.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Squirrelly concentration at best

More is less, and vice versa.

My Posts From The Start

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Symphony

Title

Title. It’s a little word only five letters long. It is a descriptive heading or caption used to give a book, chapter, song, poem, picture or anything that needs an appellation.

For such a small word it holds a significant importance. I put a lot of thought into the title of my first book, and I mean a lot.

Here are some things a title of a book should convey or contain

  1. Be part of the story at some point. Don’t call it “My blue button.” and never have anything to do with a blue button tangible or imagined. Unless blue button is a euphemism that is a major part of the story, it might not be a good title.
  2. Hold some significance to the story/characters
  3. Be short and meaningful – It’s a title, not a log line
  4. Catchy / Interesting – I’m often drawn to alliteration titles or punchy hard words.
  5. Clever – boring titles suggest a boring book
  6. Not borrowed or stolen from another book – Just don’t. Google and search to make sure it’s not accidentally copying someone else.
  7. The feel or even genre of the book –  “Loved to death.” Might not be a good romance title but might be a good suspense…

So back to my title. The title of my book has significant meaning and plays a big part in the story as it progresses. However, now I’m rewriting the book to a point where I can re-submit to Literary Agents.  I’m changing the tone of many chapters, reducing the word count by more than 24000 words(Yeah seriously ugh, at least I’m almost half way there). The catch is that I will need to change the title or it will be passed over completely. This was not advice given lightly and was given by a professional in the industry.

So I will come up with a new title for the next round of queries for the Literary agents. I will likely either work BiaAtlas back in as a subtitle or ask for it to be the full title once my book lands a publishing deal.  I’m doing this so I can give my book a second chance. Typically you cannot resubmit the same story to the same literary agents for the second time. Unless the story/prose has been changed significantly.

It is hard to say what makes a title but I know a title can make or break the chances a story has being picked up by literary agents let alone publishers. In the self-publishing industry, it is even more important as it is what will make a potential reader stop or keep scrolling past the list of titles.

So how does one find out what a good title is? Take a look at books that are in the same genre. Even ones that aren’t. What are the similarities? Whats popular? Take a look at unsuccessful books on Amazon, how do their titles differ from top sellers? A great place to get a feel for what might or might not work is a bookstore or online stores. I personally like to go and physically look at the covers.

It’s daunting to think a one to five words can make or break my chances or success. No pressure right? I’m not going to stress about it as I said before, I can change it back or work it in another way. I was told at the beginning of my journey to be flexible and not be stone hard set in my ways or having my way. It was fantastic advice that I took and take to heart.

My advice about Titles of a book.
Be willing to change it if a publisher want’s to change it. Take a look at what’s working for others but don’t copy or steal. Be creative and meaningful.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are related

The many faces of Rejection

The “word count” down.

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 

 

Stories Classified

I have written a few novels, a couple Novella’s and a handful of short stories. It occurred to me that not everyone might know what that means. 

There are five classification of Stories. (Technically four, but I think Flash fiction deserves its own classification.)

The Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story and Flash fiction.

So what is the difference?

Flash fiction is 1000 words or under. Flash fiction technically fall under the category of short story as they are often called short-short stories. They usually focus on one singular incident or event and have three characters or less. Too many are hard to keep track of in such a short time. These stories tend to skip or give a brief synopsis of the ‘beginning’ of the story and jump right to the middle. Because of the compact ‘one bite’ nature of Flash fiction, they are somewhat difficult to write well. Flash fiction do not commonly have chapters as they are written to be read in a single sitting. 

A Short Story is Under 7,500 words. There is some debate on the actual number some say 1000-4000. The guidelines have varied over time. Short stories generally follow the classic story arc but tend to be less complicated than a novel and more complicated than Flash fiction. They focus on one main event, one plot and generally one setting.   Short stories are difficult to market for profit on their own and are often found published or presented as collections to increase their marketability.  Short stories most often do not have chapters. Instead they may have white space breaks as they are meant to be read in one sitting.

A novelette is 7,500 to 17,499 words.  Novelette’s are similar to a Short story in nearly every way, but with more room to improve on characters, prose and exposition. The word count of a novelette is more popular for writers and often focused in competitions and awards. These are often marketed on their own or can be found in small collections.  Like Short stories Novelettes do not typically have chapters and generally use white space breaks. (Not a rule) 

A Novella is 17,500 to 39,999 words. Like the smaller versions of a short story and a Novelette, Novella’s don’t always have chapters. There is no rule to have chapters or not, but a book less than 40,000 words is considered a ‘single sitting’ book. Novellas are more complicated in prose, characters and exposition. They remain simple and generally focus on one plot, few characters and limited settings.  A sub-plot or side story may occur however, it isn’t as common due to the restricted amount of words they would require. Novellas are found published on their own and in compilations.

A Novel is 40,000 words or more.  Novel’s focus more on a larger story arc involving multiple complicated characters, a grand lesson or journey, sub plots and arc’s. Novels often focus on a more intimate experience with the characters and story. They are broken down to chapters and meant to be read in multiple sittings. (Though I’ll admit to reading more than a few in one sitting.)

Basically, all categories of Stories are a challenge to write and wonderful to read. Believing any category is better than the other is a farce. They each have their own challenges and depending on the writer, one may be easier to conquer than the other. I’ve been dabbling in the various categories, I can manage (Barely) flash fiction, short story (Sort of), novella (Not bad) and Novels I have no problem with. For some reason I can’t seem to hit a story in the Novelette word count. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m wordy and I do struggle to write short stories and flash fiction. 

My advice about the story classifications.
It’s good to expand and gain writing experience/practice. I recommend trying to write all classifications. Who knows maybe you’ll find a passion for something new. There are all kinds of WordPress challenges to participate in. There are contests etc. for each classification have fun and see what’s out there.

-Sheryl

Other posts about word counts

It’s really very unnecessary

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Farce

“Inside.” — “Not out”.

I recently mentioned in a post on how to use Quotation styles. Basically, pick one and stick with it. “Double” or ‘Single’. Recently I’ve been looking at some basic rules, the roots of writing. (Yes, there are those out there that will disagree. That’s your right to.) These rules are not fly-by-night however. They are tried and true. They are found in most properly edited works.

The one rule break I’m most irked by is not keeping punctuation in it’s proper place regarding dialogue. To me this is important. Once I’ve decided which quotation style to use. (Always double for me) then it’s important to keep the dialogue punctuation with in the quotations.

For example:

Incorrect: “Hey Amber”, Dale smiled. “How’s it going”?
Correct: “Hey Amber,” Dale smiled. “How’s it going?

Incorrect:
“This is the worst day ever”! Scott shouted.
“It could be worse”. Dale rolled his eyes. 
“How”
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor”. Dale chuckled. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning”.

Correct:
“This is the worst day ever!” Scott shouted.
“It could be worse.” Dale rolled his eyes.
“How?
“Losing your car keys and spilling your coffee is minor.” Dale chuckled and slapped his knee. “Amber puked on me, slipped in it and cried for an hour this morning.

I don’t enjoy reading dialogue punctuation outside the quotations.  Sure, this happens to me by mistake when I get in a groove and grammar and punctuation take a side line as I hammer away at my keyboard. However, it’s corrected the moment I start editing and revising. (Ideally).

*Amendment to this post. Other countries such as Great Britain use outside punctuation for dialogue. It’s not what I’m familiar with since I’m in North America. Books published from British authors are sometimes converted to the North American standard when published internationally. This blog and all that I write about are based off North American standards.

My advice about Dialogue punctuation.
“Keep it inside the quotation marks.” (Unless your from Great Britain or other countries that keep it on the outside) 

-Sheryl

Other dialogue related posts

That’s So Simile

Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Roots

We can just assume…

When I read other stories or write my own I try to pay attention. Lately I’ve been over describing things or including things that are just not necessary. We don’t need to constantly include the little things. Things that can easily be assumed or understood by the reader because it’s something everyone does.

Mundane tasks that are often over described:

Going to the bathroom (Gross)
Showering (unless this is a naughty scene or pertinent to the story leave it out)
Brushing teeth/grooming/makeup (Just mention it and move on, if at all)
Getting dressed/undressed (Apply same rule as showering)
Eating (Use this as an action tag sparingly or part of dialogue.)
Shopping (Unless a major plot turns here graze this)
Cleaning
Driving
Working
Working out/fitness

Most of the time these become redundant if the action or scene is solo. Where narrative takes over and little to no dialogue occurs.

Use general terms if you want to include the action but it’s not necessary to go into detail. IMO things like this are best done in past tense. By this point I would have already described her apartment so I wouldn’t go back into that. This paragraph is the transition from waking to going to work. While not completely necessary if I really wanted to include this I would have think and be considerate of the reader. I think sometimes as I write I tend to “tell all” and that might be condescending to a reader.

Anne scrubbed every inch of her skin with the rose scented soap. Once clean, she rinsed, turned off the water and stepped of the shower. She grabbed a soft white towel and began to pat dry her body. Anne wrapped herself with the towel and began blow-drying her hair. After brushing her dried locks, she went into her bedroom humming a chipper tune as she began selecting her clothes for the day. She slipped into her favorite grey slacks and light blue blouse. After buttoning the blouse, she made her way out to the kitchen to have some granola and yogurt before she headed out to work. (107)

This is pretty wordy. I have actually read books where the mundane is laid out as if I have no idea what happen

Clean and dried from her shower, Anne dressed in grey slacks and a light blue blouse. Whistling a chipper tune she padded out from her bedroom to find some breakfast before she headed out to work. (36)

71 words difference. That’s a lot. For me as a wordy writer taking out that surplus is a benefit. I still conveyed what she’s wearing, that she’s in a good mood, clean and ready for the day.

We can just assume the reader expects the characters have gone to the bathroom, brushed their teeth and put clothes on before leaving the house. Unless it’s really important keep it simple and to the point. The temptation to put those extra words in to beef up a story will backfire and bore the reader. Make your words count there is no replacement for good writing.

My advice about skipping or summarizing the simple tasks.
Sometimes somethings are best left unsaid and left to the readers imagination. Keep it simple in this case.

-Sheryl

Other talkative posts

Oops! What did I just say?

Shut your cake hole

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Replacement
Gray

Under and over the descriptions we go

Describing things is tricky, too much and it’s boring, too little and it’s boring. Both for opposite reasons, yet they get the same result… boring. As a writer I know I’m capable of much better.

Common scenarios in books like sunsets, the ocean view, a busy city street can easily become under or dramatically over described. The problem is they are common so most people know what a sunset looks like so chances are, no matter how well it’s describe or poorly, the reader is envisioning what they have personally experienced. Unless there is something remarkable, totally uncommon or has never happened before I try not to patronize the reader.

In her apartment after dinner, Amber sat and watched the sunset over the city drinking a cup of tea. The beautiful colours reflecting on the clouds in the sky.
(29)

While accurate it’s boring…
Here’s a little overkill example, while not horrible it is a smidge tedious:

In her apartment after diner, Amber sat deftly on her couch. She carefully pulled up her feet beneath her and she snuggled into the soft comfortable cornflower blue fabric. Holding her hot cup of chamomile tea between her chilled hands, she inhaled the sweet calming aroma deeply. She watched eagerly as the scorching sun began to descend ever so slowly toward the horizon. It cast the hues of soft sunburst orange, delicate summer peaches and fluffy cotton candy pinks upon the once white clouds that dotted the crisp blue summer sky.
(91)

While I’m a fan of describing colour, for something so commonly seen it can be a bit campy.  This is what I might write now that I’ve had time to learn the value of words. It’s not always about the shortest sentence or the most described.

Amber tucked her feet beneath her as she settled onto her comfortable cornflower blue couch. She held the warm mug inhaling the calming aroma of chamomile, her favorite after diner tea. Smiling, she watched the cascading colours of orange, peach and pink play and shift on the clouds.
(48)

Sooo, one if it’s her couch its in her home. I’ve mentioned before she has an apartment, so saying again is overkill. Announcing its after diner is brash IMO so I slipped it in to a better position. it’s also after diner and she’s watching the sunset. While I love a good sunset, I’m not particularity fond of reading long passages about them. I get it, it’s awesome and guess what? I’m not imagining what’s written I’m probably envisioning the last pretty sunset I saw.

It’s a fine balance of making the words and sentences count. Sometimes when I’m on a roll and just need to get the writing down so I don’t forget clever dialogue or the scene I’ll skimp on my word selections. I’m not in denial or delusional I know I sometimes I get too wordy and need to dial it back. The thing is I try to remind myself to show the scene and not tell it or list it off like a shopping list.

My advice about too little and too much description.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Read it out loud. If you get bored reading it out loud or you gasp for breath to get through (Dramatic I know) chances are you can simplify and beautify the sentence or paragraph by rearranging a word or two… or twenty.

-Sheryl

Other wordy posts

It’s really very unnecessary

Redundantly Redundant Redundancies

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Capable

Denial

Talking Trivial

Dialogue is important. Without it the entire novel would be a meaningless narrative. Yawn.  But why is writing dialogue so challenging? There are many reasons and I’ve touched on a few, but this time the reason isn’t trivial.

Trivialities in conversation can draw out a scene necessarily. It’s also mind-numbing boring. There are a few reasons trivialities in dialogue suck. One, nobody, and I mean nobody talks like that. Maybe in old sit-coms from the 50’s. Two, it’s probably filler conversation with no actual impact on the story. Three, if you’re watching that word count (even if you’re not) trivial conversation will kill the numbers.

So what do I mean? Let me demonstrate.

Dale sat at his desk in a slump. “Good morning Amber.” 
“Oh good morning Dale.” Amber replied and smiled.
“Did you have a good night last night?”
“Indeed I did, thank you for asking.”
“Was it better than the night before?”
“Yes, it was much better than Saturday night. And how was your night?”
“It was good.” Dale nodded and turned his computer on.
“Oh? What did you do Dale?”
Dale leaned back in his chair facing Amber. “I watched the game with Scott.”
“That’s good that you watched the game with Scott. Did you have a bit too much to drink?” Amber said while swiveling her chair from side to side
“I definitely had too much to drink for a Sunday night. Did you have time to think over our conversation from Friday?”
“I did think things over quite a bit and I have decided.”
“And what did you decide Amber?”
“I have decided to date you.”
“That’s good to hear, so you will give me a real chance?”
“Yes. I will give you a chance. We do have good chemistry.”
“I agree completely Amber. We do have good chemistry.”
“Dale, would you like to go for lunch today?”
“Yes. I would very much like to for lunch today.” Dale faced his computer as Valery approached.
(217)

Did you notice it? Even as I wrote that I was cringing from the repetitiveness. Make that four reasons trivialities are dull to read. Trivial conversation is a complete waste of space and if I come across it in a book my eyes float over the words skipping them or stop reading. It’s hard to focus on a story.  The other annoying aspect is neither have any character, its dry, dull and monotone. Nothing happened other than they chatted about Sunday night and made lunch plans. I think I’ll tidy that up a smidge.

Dale sat at his desk in a slump. “Good morning Amber.” 
Amber smiled. “Oh morning Dale.”
“Were you able to sleep better last night?” Dale turned his computer on.
“Yes thank God.” Amber rolled her eyes. “What’d you get up to? You look like hell warmed over.”
Dale leaned back in his chair facing Amber as she swiveled her chair side to slide. “Yeah, I watched the game with Scott and polished off a six-pack.”
Amber shook her finger at him as if he were naughty. “Tisk, tisk, on a Sunday no less.” 
“I’m paying the price. So did you decide?”
She nodded and glanced around surreptitiously. “You’ve proven we have chemistry so yes,” Her eyes darted about again. “We can be exclusive.”
He grinned.
Amber tilted her head slightly. “Lunch?” She shuffled her chair back into her desk.
“You bet.” He spied Valery approaching and turned to face his computer.
(151)

Whew, 66 words removed. Trivialities really do add the extra weight to the word count. Dale and Amber are not stiff nor are they proper. Therefore slang, jargon and comfortable interaction is necessary. There were only a few things I needed the reader to know, It’s Monday, Amber’s not sleeping well, he’s concerned, she decided to date him and he’s happy about it.

My advice about trivial writing.
Warm it up and relax the dialogue by letting the characters have the reins. Just make sure to keep it individual to the character speaking.

-Sheryl

Other posts I’ve written

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