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.

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.

It’s the Journey

One criticism often levelled at genre fiction is that it is “predictable”. The contract a romance author has with a reader is that the lovers get either their ‘happy ever after’ or ‘happy for now’. The murder mystery reader expects to find out who the murderer is.

So, what is it about genre fiction that draws readers to it in droves? Of course, it’s just as James Hynes’ says, it’s the journey. So, make it a good one. Make it original, make it fresh. Write a cracking story and your readers will love you.

A classic book

Don’t you love a book that you can still discuss years after you first read it?

A classic can be one which gave you a new way of seeing an issue, an aspect of life, love or happiness. It may have changed your life forever.

A book you can read over and over again without ever getting bored.

A book you can argue about for years, each with your own interpretation, opinion and viewpoint over meaning, the best alternative ending, why a character acted a certain way and so on.

A book you can recommend to everyone you meet and which can mean as much to them for either the same or another reason as yours.