Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Power of Words

As I went through my last round of revisions, I polished and polished and polished, weighing each word and looking for superfluous adjectives and overworked adverbs. (Did you catch how overweight that sentence is?)

Wordsmithing is the last phase of writing for me. I need to get that first draft of sentences, paragraphs, chapters on the page before I switch on my internal editor. If I try to edit as I write, then I lose the pacing of the story, and it will take me forever to write a single page.

A few of the things I look for when I wordsmith are:

1. Repeated words - unless I've repeated them for effect.
2. Adverbs - I search for a stronger verb.
3. Too much info or action in one sentence.
4. Too many said's in dialogue - I look for ways to use distinct speech patterns for each character and include more internal thoughts about what they feel. Readers are smart. They don't need a lot of he said, she said.

For fun, let's look at how well-honed the sentences are in the books you're reading.

Grab the book closest at hand, turn to page 52 and write the second complete sentence in a comment below. Let's see how published authors are using their words.


Cheryl said...

That she not be forced to submit to medical treatment which is not in her best interests or for her benefit.

- My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

J.C. Hanks said...

"Suppose that you need to determine the size of a /27 subnet (that is, the size of a subnet whose subnet mask is"

Sorry, but my closest book was a Network Infrastructure manual. I have a Geek/Tech SJD.

Andrea Dickinson said...

It [painting] slowed him down enough to let his mind move easily rather than crazily.

-Wild Man Creek, Robyn Carr