Tuesday, April 07, 2009

On Craft


In editing my manuscript, I am trying to remain vigilant on my adverb use. To my surprise, I haven't used those pesky -ly words nearly as much as I thought. Instead, I've sprinkled them throughout the novel to add a bit of "spice" where needed - but that's been about it.

I think it's rather amazing how a person "grows" in the craft of writing. Have you ever taken out a piece of your writing from years (or maybe even months) ago and cringed when you read it? I know I have! But like anything else, practice makes perfect - or at least, practice makes better. I know I've improved on my dialogue, on my plot, and on tightening my story - i.e. taking out scenes that have no business being there. My "eye" for those things has sharpened.

What is one thing you've seen an improvement on in your writing over the years?

13 comments:

  1. Funny, I also tackled adverbs in my post today, but instead I took on active vs. passive voice.

    I don't write with adverbs the way I once did. I think it's the evolutionary process of a writer, how we learn to see they're not necessary and how they take away from stronger words or ways to express a thought. In my older writing I see a lot backstory which I once thought was relevant. Now it jumps up and slaps me in the face and I can't believe I ever thought that way. We're fortunate when we realize our writing has come a long way. I also was taught by a writing teacher how not to "bury the punchline" and now that sticks out to me as well, and if I don't write it right, it's easy for me to fix.

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  2. Rather than a technical skill, I think what's improved is more a clarity of vision about what's need to craft the story, keeping it finely focused.

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  3. Hmmm...good question. Adverbs were never my problem. I suppose I've strengthened my POV. I don't have to think about switching POV's. In the beginning it was always a conscious thing to remember to keep my POV's straight. Also, I think my sentence structure has improved.

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  4. My pace is faster. I show more than tell. The plots are more complicated.

    I'm working on seamless dialogue and dealing with exposition without "info dumping".

    I don't think I've hit my stride, though, but at some point . . .

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  5. Adding more tension and depth to the page, hopefully.

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  6. Too many to count!lol but I think I'm learning how to pace myself better in the telling of the story. Better endings of chapters too.

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  7. I'd have to say getting the story right the first time so there's only one final revision to do (instead of two or three or four, or having to scrap and re-write the entire book, which has happened). So far so good and I'm very happy with my new way of working!

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  8. Boy, where to start! I've come a long way even over the past year. But sometimes I wonder if I'll ever "get" everything! There's still so much to learn. My biggest lesson this year has been to nix the -ing verbs.

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  9. I always try to adapt to suit the market requirements. It's an ongoing process, rather than a one-off. I've been writing since 1985 and lots of things have changed since then.

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  10. Probably my biggest realization is that it's all about the story. If a piece of writing is gorgeous but doesn't serve the story, it has to come out.

    Realizing that has given me the courage to tear down early drafts to bare elements and rebuild them into a story that works.

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  11. I've cut most of the repetition in my writing. I also was a devotee of the -ing verbs, but once it was pointed out to me, I scrapped them!

    I'm constantly playing with the process. I was on a quest all year to find the perfect plotting method for me. And I found it! I had to jumble together several methods, but my hybrid plotting method rocks!

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  12. I'm better at plot. I get the difference between plot and story, and I've learned how to hang the story on to a solid structure.

    Dialogue has always been a strength, and honing it keeps making it stronger.

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  13. adverbs are my favorite words!

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