Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Wednesday Writerly Wisdom
Let's twist things us a bit today and talk about ideas from the perspective of a reader. Like most of you, I've always read a lot. I recall my first steps onto a mobile library back in the fifties.
Since then, I've gone from library books to book clubs to mass market paperbacks to my beloved Kindle. I love to read. Take me away to a different place, a different era, a different lifestyle and I'm yours. I love books I can fall into. Books that make me one of the side characters who feels the emotion, the action, the pain, the passion of the story.
With a busy writing schedule, the only time I have for reading anymore is an hour after I crawl into bed while Calvin showers and does all he likes to do before he hits the sheets. Even so, I have pet peeves as a reader. I'm sure you do, too.
Like "a smile spread across her face." Ah...as opposed to it spreading across her elbow or her knee? I mean what was the writer thinking? That the reader was too dumb to know where a smile would be?
Drives me bonkers. Like a person giving a speech and saying, "I'd like to thank each and every one of you for coming out today." I want to thunk my forehead. Doesn't each one mean every one? Think people! Yeah, I'm picky. But if I'm giving up my time to hear you speak or read your book, you better make my lost time worth it. Give me your best. Not clichés like each and every one. My gawd!
What I'm getting at here with all my kvetching is write the way you like to read. If habits or styles of another author drive you bananas, identify them and get to know them so you can avoid the suckers. I'll be honest--and you'll laugh--twice in the book I'm trying to finish I wrote "she asked" after a question mark. I spied it as if it were flashing neon-green on my computer screen and hit the delete button. See, how easy it is to do the thing you despise?
That's why we have to reread and edit in small sections. Edit our stories as a whole. Change the font. You'll be surprised how a book written in Times Roman, one you're sure is error free quickly shows you mistakes when changed to Arial. It's a trick for your eyes. Suddenly they see things differently, spot "bad" for "bag" or a comma in place of a period or sentence that's difficult to read.
Write on, my friends!