Have you ever read a book where a word keeps popping up? I recently read a book that had a paragraph where three sentences began with and then. Another highly praised English author I read had me gritting my teeth at her use of began. It appeared over one hundred times in her otherwise great novel.
This kind of repetition can pull a reader out of a story, so I save lists of — words to use instead of — because it’s easy in a manuscript to repeat favoured vocabulary. I also have a short list of words I over use — that, looked, walked, relieved, for example. The list raises my awareness when I’m at the editing stage.
But opposing this suggestion is a tip I learned from author, Julie H. Ferguson about repeated words.
Continue reading “Those favoured words”
On a visit to New Zealand some years back, I took over one hundred photos in one day at an important setting in a historical fiction manuscript I was preparing. Many were of signs that I didn’t actually refer to once I began writing, but having all those photos allowed me to choose the best fit. For example, the photo above may seem insignificant, but it was a location two characters passed over. Without the photo I would have forgotten this tiny detail.
Continue reading “More on research”
Research is a fundamental part of writing. Sometimes we think we know everything about a topic or place, but it’s always good to check the facts. Readers are savvy, and an error can pull them right out of your story. It happened to me while reading a well-known book set in Germany. Dialog yanked me out of the story and I turned to the back cover to check, knowing only an Australian author would use that phrase not a German, and I was right. Continue reading “The importance of research”
I share my work with a writing critique group, but no matter how much I value their input and the help they’ve given me to improve the piece I’ve shared, they don’t see the entire manuscript.
This is when I turn to Elizabeth Lyon’s — Manuscript Makeover that sets out the process under different headings so you don’t have to read the book from start to finish, but go to the sections where you need the most help. For me it was the chapters on characterization. Continue reading “You’ve finished your first draft — then what?”