We all know about the writer’s notebook. But since publication, I’ve come to realise I also need a writer’s diary. I’m not talking about a journal, a place to wander entranced through my subconscious. Nor am I’m talking about a diary that includes scribbled shopping lists, indecipherable recipes or doctor’s appointments. It won’t have anything to do with my day job. After all, those hours are already reserved and accounted for. I just need a place to put all the practical stuff that comes with being a published author.
I need something that tells me when I’m scheduled to submit a guest blog post and remind me to drop by and comment once it’s posted. I’ve also got a blog (link to: firstname.lastname@example.org) and need to diarise the guest authors scheduled on mine.
Revisions or edits come with strict deadlines and I’ll record those and flag some warning cues letting me know time is passing.
I need to create goals, tagged with definite dates. If I want to write two or three books a year I need a plan
and the diary is my roadmap.
Maybe I have a coffee date with a fellow writer, an important part of staying connected in the writing community. I don’t want to forget that because those relationships are precious.
And every month a diary reminder to email website updates to my website manager by the cut-off date makes sure I make the most of my investment.
I need to schedule stuff around my new releases, probably the trickiest thing to do; contact my publisher’s PR person, ask bloggers for a spot, request reviews. I need to hone a program that puts me out there but stops short of making people throw up.
When I go on holiday, and that holiday is really a thinly disguised research trip, I want a note of what I need to check and research each day. I may not pass that way again and if it’s related to the book I’m writing, I’d better make sure I diarise the things I need to research at each stop.
My diary will have a note about closing dates of interesting short story competitions I want to enter. Some of those will represent unrealised dreams. It’s so important to have these and record them.
I’ll also use it as a record of what I’ve done
not just what I plan to do. Dates of submissions, rejections received, short pieces I’ve written.
In short, I need something that helps me progress my career, keeps my head screwed on straight and stops me waking at 3am with that ‘uh-o’ moment about something I’d forgotten to do. The practical Lou, she of the day-job, reaches for a serviceable black Debden diary. But writer Lou wants Kikki K, something colourful and full of fun that reflects the sort of heroines I write.
What about you? Do you keep a writer’s diary? Or are all the things you need to do kept in your head?
Louise can be found at:
Here I go, finally a blog about my hero. I’m being very severe with myself and am strictly limiting the word count so as your eyes don’t glaze over while I indulge myself dissecting each of her books. Having said that, as far as contemporary authors go, Jane Austen keeps me re-reading her books again and again. Wait a minute, isn't she a historical author? Not in my view. She lived during the regency period but didn't write historical novels. She wrote about her contemporaries.
The allure of the period costume drama aside. I read Pride and Prejudice thinking it was going to be some kind of intellectual read. I dare say Mills and Boon would have thought up a more romantic title which could have tempted me to open the cover a good five years earlier. Any who, as a self confessed fan, I guess at age 21 and just discovering J A is a bit lame. Most people I know read her as a teenager. I can only put it down to a distaste for the “Classics”, Dickens etc. I thought it meant the same as reading books for school.
After my coming of age birthday I felt it was time I bit the bullet and got on with improving my reading resume. OMG I LOVED P & P. I whipped through the rest of the novels and settled on Persuasion as my all time fave. For the last 30 years (eek, how many?) I've thought a great deal about J A. I’ve been to England to visit Chawton and various other J A historic spots so, you know, I mean slightly obsessed when I say thought a bit about her. What gets me fired up, nowadays, is how her writing style isn't in fashion and she’d probably not get a contract if she cold submitted around the traps. I know, a lot of you think she would. But we can agree, her books hold their own with current romance novelists and give us an emotional ride every time we read them, again and again. I still get anxious that Anne Elliot won’t meet up with Captain Wentworth after reading his marriage proposal. No I’m not pathetic, J A is that great. She can still intimately pull us in.
I believe one of the, too many to mention here, reasons is that at times she adopts a conversational style, not dissimilar to her letters to sister Cassandra. She wrote about what went on in her current time. She was a contemporary author taking the reader into her confidence, whether poking fun at her supporting cast or getting her heroine to notice if the hero wore a blue coat or not (very in at the time). In some respects it’s like modern Women’s Lit. In taking the almost insufferable circumstances of a woman’s lot and sharing a private joke with the reader and making fun of it. For example, when the poor (in more ways than one) Dashwood sisters are expected to enjoy playing with spoiled noisy children. J A has Eleanor make a comment that goes something like, when she is around her cousin’s children, she can never think of quiet children with any abhorrence. It carries so strongly with how we feel today, when the last vestiges of stereotypical gender types are sometimes still ill applied.
I admire J A as I would any brave woman, from any period of time, who chose to live as an author rather than marry someone she didn't love. Even the comfort of her sister and mother were not enough to induce her into a marriage of convenience. She wrote what love should be like. Not what her real experience of love had served up in her own life. The gradual awakening of her characters to their own faults, which have kept them from love, and the change in their attitude leading them finally into marriages of bliss, is totally relevant today. Mr Darcy admitting his faulty pride, to his dearest loveliest Elizabeth, has to be the most romantic scene ever written. If J A wrote that this year and it came out in paperback with that scene, my bet is that it would be a NYT bestseller.
The picture of the lady at the top of the page is officially not of Dora Bramden. It is however an unauthenticated portrait believed by some (including me) to be of Jane Austen. Photo sourced from http://worldbooktrade.blogspot.com.au
Someone recently asked me this question: how long does it take you to write a book? I paused for a moment before answering, because I was pretty sure the other person expected a pretty straightforward answer. Something like, “three months, two weeks and four days, give or take”.
Of course, as anyone who’s done any kind of fiction writing knows, the answer is way more complicated than that.
Every book is different
For a start, the answer is different for each book I’ve written. And in some cases it doesn’t even have anything to do with word count. Some books just write themselves – they come quickly and relatively easily (I’m cautious about using the word “easy” when it comes to writing!) and before you know it, you’re typing “The End”.
Other books make you struggle for every word. Or they start off fine, and then the muse up and disappears after chapter three. Then, six months later she’s back, whispering in your ear, “Hey, remember that story we abandoned? Well, how about...”
You can’t really count the time in between as writing time. Although obviously, somewhere in your subconscious, it’s still been kicking around, working itself out. So it still kind of counts!
What do you mean by “finished”?
As we know, there isn’t one finish line when it comes to writing. Typing “The End” on your first draft is really a beginning, just as much as a finishing. There’s editing, redrafting, rewriting, restructuring...
And then, when your story makes it into the hands of a publisher there’s a whole new finish line ahead. Editorial/structural edits. Then line edits. Then author alterations. Then, THEN, finally, your book is done and off to the printing presses (or equivalent e-book formatting!).
“I never finish anyway...”
I know a lot of writers who struggle with finishing their stories. A lot of agents and publishers only want the first three chapters for submission, so there is a temptation not to bother with writing the book much past that. And, let’s face it, the first part of a book is usually the easiest – we’re still in love with our characters and the novelty of our story is still fresh and exciting.
I’m a bit of a believer in the school of thought around the law of attraction. It basically says that your attitudes and behaviours have a lot to do with the kind of opportunities life sends your way. And I think if you only ever write three chapters, you’re kind of putting it out there that it’s okay that no one ever asks you for more than that. Not to mention the fact that you’re really not giving yourself the full experience of being a writer. Writing the opening of a story is relatively easy. Seeing it through to fruition, watching your conflicts play out, keeping the tension alive, avoiding the “saggy middle” – they’re all writing skills that you’ll never use if you never go past the first three chapters.
And, on a very practical level, when the right editor does hit upon your work and asks to see the rest, if you’ve already written it (or at least most of it) you’re in a fantastic position to do some polishing, some final writing and send it off quick-smart before they forget about you! Responding quickly as a writer is important (even if responding quickly as publishers and editors is practically unheard of!).
So what’s the answer?
How long is a piece of string? How long it takes is up to you. As with so much in writing, there’s no right or wrong answer. The only misstep you make, I think, is in not meeting the challenge to reach “The End”.
Emmie’s latest book is a novella, Spellbound. She thinks it probably took about three weeks to write, three months to polish, and three years to get published.
Spellbound link: http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781743481035/spellbound
Find Emmie on the web:
Have you read the weekend papers and now sit, with third latte in hand, looking for something writerly to read? I have it for you. Here at the MRWG we are blessed with talented writers.
As it’s the first Sunday of the month, I thought I’d round up some of February’s blogs, just in case you missed a gem.
In alphabetical order, here’s a brief outline of what’s been posted.
Anna Cowen has been blogging about the art and essence of storytelling on her blog, Diary of an Accidental Housewife. (http://annacowan.com/
),yes this is the right link. During February, Anna visits the movie Dirty Dancing and also recounts an enchanting fairy tale with a strong heroine as opposed to the kind that waits around to be saved.
Emmie Dark (http://emmiedark.blogspot.com.au/
) has been posting an informal diary of her sojourn in the USA. Her photos and experiences take us off the usual tourist path and show us some of the quirky side of Texas and California. Even though we’re quite Americanized in many ways, here in Australia, Emmie shows us some fun differences.
Louise Reynolds at Lou Writes ( http://louwrites.wordpress.com/
) has been entertaining subscribers with a series called Cooking The Books. In my life as a bookkeeper it mean’s telling a few porkies, however Louise’s guests have been talking honestly about writing and cooking. A reoccurring theme is the emotional link food creates with our past and how that can evolve into inspiration for stories.
Serena Tatti of Story Editor (http://serenatattistoryeditor.blogspot.com/
) has been interviewing writers during Feb. Her guests have been sharing accounts of their writing experience. Juanita Kee’s explores loving your character and Suzanna Ross shares her experience regarding the magic of writing friends.
Well that’s a taste of what some of the MRWG members have been offering through their blog’s. If you've read them, I hope my post helped you to remember how great they were. If you haven’t seen them yet, you have a treat in store.
At my first Romance Writers of Australia conference I was like most newbies; bean-green, wide-eyed and just a little star struck.
The keynote speaker was Jenny Crusie whose blog I’ve followed with interest for a number of years. Crusie is one of those generous writers who let you into their lives so you meet their crazy friends, psychotic pets and mildly dysfunctional families.
Crusie had a major cold. She felt like crap and told us so in typical style. But when she started to talk about writing friendships she glowed. Her great mate Krissie (author Anne Stuart) had accompanied her ‘down under’. To a comment by a snuffly Crusie that she wasn’t sure an equally ill Krissie was in the audience that morning there was a shout from the audience, ‘I’m here, sister!’ Joyous stuff.
In a world of social media it’s easy to be “friends” with everyone. Writers who toiled away in isolation 20 years ago are now in touch with as many friends as they can handle at the press of a button. Not all these friends will make the ideal critique partner.
Choose your crit partner wisely. Here are my tips:
1. Each should bring as much, if not more, to the relationship. Share on a one-for-one basis to start with. Later, as the relationship develops, you can make allowances for the varying demands the other might have on her time. Synchronise writing speeds. There’s nothing worse than sending a chapter and receiving 3 in reply. It will change from time to time but you should get the feeling that you are roughly equal in the equation.
2. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
3. Check out their online identity. If they’re published, check out their reviews. See how they interact with others on their face book page, twitter, etc.
4. Decide whether you want to match interests and writing styles or go for something different. If you write sweet romance but want to prise that bedroom door open an erotic romance writer may help.
5. Look for someone you think you can learn from. If you’re in a face-to-face group already and you admire someone’s writing, ask. It may not be a yes but could lead to…
6. Consider having a couple of people you only send stuff to occasionally, prefaced by something like ‘I’m having trouble with this but can’t work out why.’ A writer on the next level is more likely to take an interest in helping if they don’t feel pressured to be a full-time CP.
7. Don’t have so many critique partners that you spend too much time reading their work and don’t have time to do your own. For me, two – three is max.
8. Commit equally to honest appraisal. Everyone loves to hear “OMG, I love it!” But we’re looking for someone who can help us move up to the next level. I like a crit partner to apply the blowtorch where warranted otherwise I’m just treading water. So put the big girl panties on and take some criticism. Fair, robust criticism will push you on. Comfy criticism will cripple you.
9. You didn’t exchange rings so don’t be scared to call it off. Some critique partnerships dwindle through lack of interest. Others need to be finished by either party. You don’t need a court order to get out of this. A simple email thanking the person for their time (which after all you have repaid if you’ve followed Rule 1) and wishing them well will go a long way to maintaining a friendship.
10. Have an honest discussion about plagiarism, use of ideas etc. Some beginning writers don’t have an understanding of this and may not respect the writing and ideas of their CP. Define right up front where the boundaries are. Spell out that all exchanged work is not to be on-forwarded and is to be destroyed on request.
11. Don’t send your writing into the void. This is your hard earned work, your property and the stuff of your dreams. Don’t send it right left and centre to people hiding behind Writerbabe69 or whatever.
12. Work out when a crit partner has taken you over. Your book is more hers than yours. She’s stronger, dominant, convinced of her opinions. You’ve received critiques with more track changes than a capital city rail system. Remember this is your book.
A good critique partner is worth her weight in gold. Good luck with your search! You can visit Louise on her website, blog or Facebook.
I often struggle with silencing my internal editor. It’s the little voice that provides a running commentary on everything I’m doing wrong with my writing. Of course, that little voice can be helpful in small, controlled doses when I’ve transferred my ideas to the page and am ready to refine them, but during the creative process, all it manages to do is feed my doubts and block creativity.
Ever stared at a blank screen, the cursor taunting you with its incessant blinking, and felt paralysed? What is so scary about that blank page? Often we have more ideas than time to work on them, so why can it be so difficult to get them from head to paper (or computer)? For me, it’s the fear of failure. The ideas seem so perfect in my head, and I want to do them justice, so I put a lot of pressure of myself. Now, when this happens I simply remind myself of the following advice that many writers would have heard time and again. ‘You can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank one’
We waste a lot of energy talking ourselves out of writing because it might not be perfect. Why not refocus that energy into putting words to paper as they come. We can go back and ‘fix’ anything we’re not happy with later.
These fears can often continue throughout the writing process. Rather than taking off with an idea and letting the words flow onto the page, I find myself critiquing each paragraph, sentence or even each word, as I go along. I’ve even been known to stop mid-sentence searching for the ‘perfect’ word to describe something as inane as the colour of the dirt on a character’s shoe. Thankfully, I’ve been able to work on that bad habit, and rather than dwelling on something so small, I will move on, or alternatively, place a small note to come back to during the editing stage.
It’s important to remember that a first draft isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s a way to let your creativity flow; to find your voice and let your ideas run wild. Once you’ve let all of that creativity out and have something to build on, then you can go back and edit. The next trick is being kind to yourself. Your inner critic will judge you and tear you apart... but if you find something you’ve written is just ‘rubbish’, have a laugh and try again. I’m sure even the most successful writers out there have cringe-worthy moments when reading over their initial drafts. It’s all part of the process.
Here are some tips to help you turn off that internal editor:
· Put a ban on editing of any kind. This can be as simple as not being allowed to read over what you’ve written, or to be even more extreme, stop yourself from using the ‘backspace’ button at all. If you’ve made a typo it can be fixed later.
· Set yourself goals. Even if you have limited writing time, aim high. This is the idea behind the popular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Participants need to complete 50,000 words in one month. It’s a big ask, and meeting that goal requires non-stop writing during precious writing time. For most people there’s no time to edit, therefore the words, and creativity, flows. Use a productivity app/program such as ‘Write or Die’ where you can set goals around word counts or time limits. There are also consequences for not writing continuously. The descriptions below are taken from the Write or Die website.
- Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
- Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if, and only if, you continue to write.
- Kamikaze Mode: Keep writing or your work Will ‘unwrite’ itself (I’ve never been brave enough to try this one).
· If you couldn’t possibly fathom writing an entire story without editing (*puts hand up*), then restrict it to one chapter at a time, or if that still causes heart palpitations, cut that back to one scene. C’mon, I know you can get through one scene without editing!
· Plan. This will be hard for my fellow ‘pantsers’, but it’s worth trying. Have a rough plan for your story. Sometimes, the more detailed, the better. I find if I have scenes planned out at certain points of the story, even if it’s just the overall objective of a scene (e.g. Show the development of trust between hero and heroine), it helps keep momentum. Stalling, or becoming ‘blocked’, is like holding up a ‘welcome’ sign to my internal editor. I must keep moving. Note: Pantser = A novelist who writes by the Seat of their Pants, not taking time to plan the novel before beginning to write.
· Try something different. If your self-control has disappeared and you absolutely cannot stop yourself from editing, it’s time to turn off the computer and try something else. Why not grab a pen and paper? Rewriting and amending the same sentence ten times suddenly becomes more difficult. Another alternative is to dictate your story. You don’t even need a Dictaphone. Most smart phones have a voice record/memo facility. Just hit record and start talking. No editing here. That can wait for when you transcribe it all later.
After reading a great little book ‘How to write a book in 48 hours’ by Jack Morrow, I realised 1) there is money in self-help books and 2) you must be prepared before you sit down to write.
For me the ideas don’t spring forward the moment I sit at my blank computer screen, with fresh coffee, loads of chocolate and raring to go. For me it’s like extracting a tooth and I agonise over every word, paragraph and page, which can choke any spark I have.
But what if I’ve spent time thinking about my characters as I go through the day. I can plan what I’ll do to them, and see how they react. I can think about the places I can put them, where they will be out of their comfort zone. Depending on your memory jot down brief notes, or keep it tucked up in your head until it’s writing time.
And as Jack mentions, if you have a plan already in your head or jotted down, bare bones only, it must speed up your word count.
We don’t have to sit around wool gathering to do it either; we can do it while driving, in the shower, cooking the dinner, waiting in a line at the supermarket.
A few years back I did a workshop at an RWA conference and we practised meditation and the exercise of trying to picture your book, a scene, a point of change, and then sleep on it. We make this our final focus before sleep. Forget the cat, the kids’ lunches, the wet washing in the machine and just zone into your fictional world and see where it leads.
Another good tip to increase word count is to cut the internal editor out of the equation.
Assure your internal editor, and we all have one, you are getting words down. Thank him for his advice that your writing is crap and assure him you will edit it tomorrow – but not today.
Give it a go and maybe get Morrow’s book to see if you can increase your word counts.
Go with the flow and may the words and inspiration be with you.
One of my favourite facts about My Lady Untamed – my debut historical romance – is that before I wrote what has more or less become the final draft, I threw out 150,000 words. That’s roughly a draft and a half.
The book was one whole thing, and now it’s another whole thing, and somewhere in the middle I panicked and thought, “How do I even know I’m writing the same book?” All the words had changed, but most of the characters remained (though fully transformed) and the premise (though turned on its head). Some of the setting. Some of the names. Actually, hardly any of the original names remain.
The first draft of My Lady Untamed was only the second book I’d written all the way through. It was my first go at writing romance, and all the chapter titles were in a curly, romantic font.
I started reading that very first draft, that has so little to do with my book now, last week.
It was hilarious and awful and fun. It’s three years old. There are lines, here and there, startling as ghosts, that still exist in this draft of the novel.
A couple of things have become clear to me: In three years I have learnt a lot about writing. I mean A LOT. I hardly even recognise that girl who sat down at her computer every day and wrote 4,000 words in a couple of hours, because she was Writing A Novel. I envy her. I pity her.
I wouldn’t give up the craft I’ve learned for anything. Putting words together like doing a logic puzzle is one of my great joys (even when I want to take my brain out and scrub it).
But there’s something about that naïve energy I miss. It’s not careful; it’s not deeply involved in what’s said about romance these days, or thinking about whether a heroine says something interesting about feminism and gender.
I don’t think it’s possible to learn to write well, and keep that energy. It’s something we have to compromise, to become professional writers. It’s something fervent, first-time authors are self-publishing, that grabs readers’ imaginations (but still sits in opposition to what we traditionally understand as “good writing”).
That draft, though. There’s one character who ONLY TALKS IN ALL-CAPS!! AND BEAT A CHINESE PRINCESS AT CHESS, JUST ‘CAUSE!! And as refreshing as it was not to over-think my heroine, she was a hopeless doormat with martyrish self-esteem issues. Not in an interesting way. Just in a Oh dear God, THIS is my deepest id? kind of way.
As far away as that draft feels, it’s the dirt this draft grew out of. I agonised over it so deeply that I had to stop reading it half way through, even though all that agony was three years ago. In writing, as in all else, we can only go forward.
You close the romance novel having just read the final word. A warm glow fills your chest. Your mouth is curved into a luxurious smile. The good have got the happy consequences of their heroic actions and the not so good, if there are any, have gotten theirs. You radiate satisfaction.
The end is also goodbye, which makes the happiness of the heroes, who are leaving you behind as they head off into their happily-ever-after fictional life, all the more important. Their happiness is a kind of salve on the separation occurring. Although you are parting ways you can rest assured they are going to be okay. You don’t have to cling to them, wondering if this or that worked out the way they wanted it to. The happier they are equals the satisfaction you experience when parting from them.
The happiness of a hero/heroine is directly proportional to the sorrow they have been through. Like a pendulum swinging from one end of the spectrum of horrid experiences to the other end of sublime fulfillment of all wishes. Can you imagine closing a book and having a heart warming feeling if the hero needed to go to the shop for some milk but couldn't get there because of his broken leg. The heroine, his next door neighbor, saw him struggling on crutches and drove him to the shop. They looked into each other’s eyes and it was love born of gratitude that she made it possible for him to have milk in his cuppa? What the heck! No Way.
The story requires something other than the pedestrian (pardon my pun) circumstances. It requires events and situations and feelings that will wrench the hero/heroine out of their ordinary world and plunge them into the thick dark waters of their worst fears. This is the making of a really gripping will-they-drown-or-swim-to-shore story. It has to take their last ounce of everything, they almost fail but somehow they find resources within themselves they never knew they had. This creates the huge tension that is released on the hero/heroine successfully saving themselves and each other. The hero and heroine shipwrecked-together story situation has been done before, done a lot actually. Why? Because the circumstances cut them off from all support except each other. It brings out every fear of inadequacy they have about themselves. They take it out on each other and at some point have to begin working together for survival. The metaphor of a fish out of water story-line also works this way and creates a brilliant release when love fulfilled replaces severe emotional discomfort .
The amount a hero/heroine have to change, to survive their rapidly changing circumstances and emotions, must be astronomical if you want the reader to have an astronomical happy ever after fix.
Which books contain your favorite endings? Have a think about what elements the author used in creating that amazing, heart warming, keep you coming back for more glow.
My favorite ending to a romance novel would have to be, hands down, Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot went through a hellish ten year separation before they could finally be together and boy they both had to learn some serious lessons before they could work it out. During his awakening, his actions put him in the position of almost having to marry someone else. Oh NO! Seriously, every time I re-read it I feel anxious for them, as if I don't know that it's going to be okay.
I’d love to tell you the tantalizing way Jane Austen constructs the resolution to this story and how the happy ending is written, but I won’t. If you've read it, you already know. If you haven’t read it then you really have a treat waiting for you.
If you’d like to share the titles of books you've loved the ending of, that would be great. No spoilers though. Giving away the ending is sacrilege. If it’s a romance novel we know it’s going to be happy. That’s one of the important reasons I love reading and writing them.
There are times when less is more and an easy way to improve our writing is to look for too much description and delete it. As writers, we paint a picture by describing settings, characters, and clothes, but it’s not always necessary to describe every little detail.
When we enter a room for the first time, our senses work in unison. We take in the sights, smells, and sounds, we feel the heat/cold/ambience, but mostly taste doesn’t come into play in this instance. We use our five senses concurrently and view the overall picture. Our eyes take in the main parts—the light or darkness, key colours, furniture, maybe some paintings, but we don’t focus on every single trinket on every table or dresser, or the brush strokes used in the paintings. If we went into complete details about the entire room, chances are we would lose our reader after a couple of paragraphs.
The same goes for descriptions of every character and what each person is wearing. An overview is sufficient.
The subject of an active voice sentence performs the action of the verb.
*I painted the wall* is written in the active voice.
*I* is the subject
*painted* is the verb
*the wall* is the object
When the object of the sentence is having something done to it, the verb is passive.
*The wall was painted by me* is in the passive voice.
*the wall* changes from object to subject
*I* becomes *me* when turned from subject to object.
*painted* becomes *was painted*
Of course it’s fine to use the passive voice occasionally, but a paragraph with half a dozen *wases* or *weres* can be very distracting.
Concentrate on the words that don’t add anything to your story, whether repeating the same word several times close to each other (unless occasionally for emphasis), or conveying the same information more than once.
e.g. my most used word is *just*. I just love writing just about anything using the word *just*, just too often.
Here’s a list I’ve compiled through several sources of words that are used too often, or words that add little to the meaning of a sentence:
• At the present time
• Began to
• By means of
• Considering the fact that
• Moved to
Some of them might seem fine by you, but most of these are imprecise in certain circumstances.
*Mary moved to go to the bedroom* sounds a bit awkward.
*Mary headed to the bedroom* sounds stronger. Similarly, using *tiptoed, sauntered, ambled, or stomped* would make it easier to visualise the way Mary is travelling to the bedroom.
Lastly, think of the parts of a story that you tend to skim over to get to the exciting bits. You want to avoid those skimmed over bits and have your book full of exciting bits. Use your words wisely. Be concise and your manuscript will flow better.