Thursday, March 19, 2015

Writing: Echos (echos) (echos) (echos)

I'm updating my website and included in my "about us" section, I mention Legacy being the catalyst of two published novels and a third about to be written. Thought I'd update you. Main characters: Elena, Alex, Mikhail, Tony. The blurb:  Girl inherits a castle inhabited (infested would be better) with terrorist/drug dealers.

Close to the end, 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 horse story.


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.


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").


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.

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