Categories: Writing Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

There’s an elephant in the room

This past week I revisited the first three chapters of my first novel for the sake of querying just for fun. I’ve been around the block with this one, each time they were requested, those three chapters would dust themselves off and play ambassador for the chapters waiting in the wings, hoping for their turn. Which didn’t always happen.

So this time, before hitting send, I thought it would be good to actually read through one more time. You must understand, if I’ve edited those pages once, I’ve edited them 50 times. Seriously. It has also been through the hands of a number of other people who worked it over. It has been changed, refined, perfected. I honestly believed my novel was the best it could be.

I sat down for what I thought would be a quick read-through and was horrified. Every time my characters moved, they did it quickly, if they frowned, they did it crossly, when they laughed, it was uproariously… Spot the problem. I was a regular adverb addict and nobody had said a word. There’s an elephant in the room. Shhhhhhhhhhh!

Now for some bouquet tossing to the one lady who did speak up and has changed my writing. Jen Owenby – I owe you, I owe you big time. Jen and I met right here in WordPress land. We have connected as well outside of WP and for some reason, she offered to read through my new WIP (which was only about 5K words long at that stage.) She came back with some encouraging comments, but also two big flaws – passive voice and ADVERBS. Those little crutches that make any strong, healthy verb look like a shuffling granny.

I never knew that I was supposed to avoid them. Seriously. I didn’t know. Now I do. Thank you Jen.

So I’ve kicked the crutches and sent my ambassadors back out there. Who knows. 🙂 For now its back to my crutch-less WIP and I’m loving it.

What elephant lives in your room? Have you kicked him out yet?

Comments (4)

  1. Adverbially speaking, I’ve always loved Tom Swifties…

    “That’s not my appendix” Tom said, halfheartedly

    1. Oh now that makes me chuckle JZ 🙂 hehehe!

  2. Oh, I know that elephant. I have been squashing those adverbs, but the passive voice can be hard to overcome because it’s a tricksy thing and the tired brain can have trouble recognizing it in among the good stuff 😉

    1. It is, hey? Sometimes it just makes more sense. Tricksy…

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