The Difficulty

Love this quote. Why is it so difficult? Because we have so many words at our disposal. Words have so many nuances, depths and shades of meaning, connotations and denotations, all of which can or may be influenced by context and subject to interpretation by a reader according to their life experiences and even their sense of humour.

Another reason is because there are so many ways in which to use the words we have, so many ways to tell the same story. The same basic story told by different writers, or even the same writer at a different time in their life, can give a reader vastly different experiences.

Luckily, we are not confined to the first draft of our story. There is always room for improvement. The danger being that at some point we have to stop polishing the story and actually send that story out into the big wide world.

Five Words

This state is sometimes called the fictional daydream or, in German, Kopfkino, literally “cinema in the head”.

The challenge for the writer is writing five words that will ‘hook’ or immerse the reader in the story. Then keeping the reader immersed. Entire books have been written on how to do this and “Deep Point of View” so I won’t try to cover all of that here. Your editor will work with you to assist you in this.

However, I thought it was fascinating to read about what happens when readers read here: https://lithub.com/what-does-immersing-yourself-in-a-book-do-to-your-brain/

Use Strong Verbs

Overuse of adverbs (-ly words) is common among new and inexperienced writers. See the example below for ways to replace them with strong verbs. Using strong verbs instead of adverbs also assists in “showing” rather than “telling”.

“She’s definitely mine,” said Big Red aggressively.

“Admittedly, she had lunch with you in the same patch of orchard, but she recently told me it’s me she wants,” said Big Grey, raising his paws threateningly, lashing quickly at the larger kangaroo.


“Can you pair find somewhere else to strongly contest the lovely lady elsewhere,” asked Little Red tiredly. “We’re trying to nap here. You pair going at it noisily is interfering with my sleep.”

Compare:

“She’s belongs to me.” Big Red growled, planted his tail, and raised his paws.

“Yes. You ate lunch in the same patch of orchard. But, she sleeps with me. She wants me.” Big Grey, thrusts with his claws, slashing the larger roo’s chest.


“Come off it you two… find somewhere else to fight for the bitch,” Little Red yawned. “We’re trying to nap. Your brawling is interfering with my sleep.”

Rewrite

Congratulations! Your draft is done. You are doing well. Now for the exciting part; starting to get your story ready to face the rest of the world. All those hardwon words need to be cut down to size.

Every single word must earn its place in your story. Every sentence, every paragraph, every scene, every subplot must move the story forward. Readers paying to read your story deserve your very best.

Good luck. Your editor thanks you in advance.

The only secret

Often, the purpose of writing the first draft is to tell yourself the story. By the time you finish, you should have a very good idea of what you want to say in your story. Rewriting is the time for clarifying your message.

Some of the best writing advice I’ve heard is to “Mean what you say, and say what you mean.” Using the correct words to convey your message as clearly and effectively as possible is important because it gives your reader the best reading experience.