Sunday, March 10, 2013

SPRING FORWARD AND A WRITING MINI-WORKSHOP, WORDS TO AVOID, ECHOS, SHOW DON'T TELL AND PASSIVES



Proof positive. Spring is here. I hope everyone sprung forward last night. I knew about it and forgot, of course. But Sunday is kind of a free-for-all day.
I don't have to be anywhere or do anything. Well, not true. I have plenty to do.

I have to make peace with my God I'm going in the right direction. Sometimes he answers, sometimes he makes me figure out the problem. We talk. I thank him
for all the wonderful people, animals and things in my life and ask his forgiveness for any wrongs I might have committed as unintentional as they might have been.
I ask for guidance on Legacy. I need a LOT of guidance on Legacy.

I'm going to the barn this morning. Smokey came up lame yesterday, and I'm scared for him. I don't know what's going on, but of course, suspect the worst. I gave him Bute last night (pain killer for anyone who doesn't know) He'll be on it for three days, then, I'll see how he does without it. Dr. Leininger, Smokey's vet for his EPM,
will visit on the 20th to draw blood and send in it in to the company that does the testing. We'll see affective the Oraguin 10 and Levaquill was. Could the lameness be a side affect from that, or did he just injure himself playing on the lunge line. I'm hoping the latter. I worry about a lot of things. I've had horses with ringbone, navicular syndrome, colic, seleneum deficiency, Iris Melanoma (my dear Jackson). After having horses since 1979, i'm suprised that's all of the medical issues.

This afternoon, my friend Bruce will be coming over to fix my desk. Two drawers are broken This desk CAN'T be THAT old. Or can it? Time flies by so fast, I don't even realize it's happening.

Legacy: I'm to the point where Elena has been kidnapped and is trapped inside her castle. When she escapes (if she escapes) I'll have her tell you the story about how she managed and the help she got along the way.

I've been working on this novel for years. I mean years before Waterlilies Over My Grave and In the Arms of the Enemy were even a glint in my eye. It came shortly after Matt's Murder, which still hasn't seen the light of day. That's another novel I believe will need major-MAJOR changes. It might exist to serve me as a reminder of where I came from and how far I've come. Maybe. I think the next work will be my stolen horses story.


WRITING:

Let's talk about ECHOES. My critique partner, Neva Franks, is a freak about echos. That's a GOOD THING. I have a LOT of them. What are echos? Echos are when you use the same word many times in a short space of writing. Same paragraph, scene, chapter. Mostly in the same few paragraphs. We have to find synonyms that fit. Be careful though. Some synonyms in your friend thesaurus may not mean what you want to convey.

WORDS TO USE MINIMALLY:

There are a few words that the "experts" say you should have a minimum of in your work: They are (in no particular order) that, there, is, was, were, am, are, be, had, has, as, there, it, could, heard and hear, just, then, really (and ly words in general) ing words in general, feel, feeling felt, knew, Know, think and thought, see, saw thought, so, very, taste, smell. Sandy Nachlinger (see comments) added a few more: should, would, seemed to, almost, nearly, began to (my writing teacher called these "weasel words"); because, of course, in fact ("explaining words").

SHOW DON'T TELL:

There's an old (old, old saying) in modern fiction "show don't tell") words like feel think saw taste and smell TELL you something, but they don't SHOW you much. I felt like he was going to leave me. vs. He came in with his bride wearing the ring promised to me. More words but it tells you everything. Not just like I felt he was going to leave. She KNOWS he's going to leave. In MY opinion, you need a smattering of both. Maybe like, I'd felt all morning he was going to leave, then I saw her. She wore the engagement ring he we picked out together.

Try to avoid passivees.

For example, in the passive sentence "Alex was knocked down", Alex is the subject but the sentence doesn't see him as the prominent figure where he has control and you don't know who does. The sentence "Elena knocked Alex down" is an active sentence putting Elena in the major role and it's to the point. (You can tell, I'm mad at my character Alex in "Legacy." He deserves to be knocked down by Elena.

So that's my blog for today. Spring forward (last night) We lost an hour. Onward with Legacy. WRITING TECHNIQUES LEARNED ALONG THE WAY FROM FAR BETTER WRITERS THAN ME.

6 comments:

Sandy Nachlinger said...

I enjoyed today's post and appreciate the writing tips. I have a list containing all the "words to use minimally" you mentioned, plus a few other words and phrases to avoid: should, would, seemed to, almost, nearly, began to (my writing teacher called these "weasel words"); because, of course, in fact ("explaining words"). It's hard to see these problems in our own writing, isn't it? That's where a good critique partner or group comes in!

I hope Smokey is okay.

Patricia A. Guthrie said...

Sandy, thank you so much. I'll add them to my blog. (then print them up and hang them by my computer. I used to have alist,then when I changed computers I lost it. I had to research them all over again.

thank you for your well-wishes for Smokey. He's on "bute" a pain killer and seems better today. He'll be on it again tomorrow, then we'll see how he is.

Micki Peluso is the author of "And the Whippoorwill Sang" said...

Hi Pat, What wonderful blogs you write--always so interesting and informative. I wish I could blog--all I do is post my short stories. BTW re: the horse. If that Levaquill is related to levaquin, a strong antibiotic, it does cause tendonitis--I had it when I had a bone infection in my foot. I loved your tips for grammar--you've always been my best proof reader, editor and critic.
Micki

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