Today I will leave you with the last of my little lessons:What words to avoid and stronger verbs. I want to say one of the most important things you should do while in the middle of revisions is 'read aloud'. It is amazing how different it sounds when you actually hear it, as apposed to reading it to yourself. You can spot a lot more mistakes, especially if you are telling instead of showing.
Basic grammar and punctuation are important, but so are the topics I have touched on the last few posts. Also, another great feature on your computer is find and replace. This is a good way to see how many of the words I list on here you are using in your manuscript. These are called 'Garbage Words'. They are typically used for fillers, and can slow down the text. A lot of them you can either delete, or replace.
Well And then
And, there is one word that should only be used once or twice in your entire manuscript: Suddenly
The reason why I say to avoid these words, is they tend to be involved with telling, instead of showing. There are other words you can use, and will generally lead you to explaining, instead of saying.
Like, is one of those words that is misused in most American books. If you like something, that is one thing, if you are explaining something and use 'like', then it is incorrect.
Example: He looks like he knew the answer.
The proper way would be: He looked as if he knew the answer.
In this instance, 'like' should be replaced with as if, or as though.
Another list of words that a lot of times you can either delete, or change the sentence structure are conjunctions in the beginning of sentences.
Do a find to look for these words at the start of your sentences. There are times where they fit, but other times you probably don't need them.
Last, but not least, are verbs. Yes, we have to have them, but there are times you want to use stronger ones to avoid passive voice. Dangling participles are one of the types of words you want to watch. 'Ing words' such as walking, are passive, and if you can change the sentence so that you don't have to have them, then do. Of course, you will have 'ing' words, but within certain places, they should be avoided. Such as, action scenes.
There are places in your novel that you want to look for redundant actions too, such as 'nod', or 'sat, or even, 'down'. These words can be passive also, or boring if you use them too much.
Use your thesaurus, that's what it's there for. Try to replace verbs typically used, for stronger, more aggressive ones. Also, it will broaden your vocabulary.
Well, that's it for this subject. I could go on, but I think most of you get the idea. I know there are a lot of other creative writing topics I could discuss, but I don't want to bore you with too many blog posts on this subject. I just wanted self-published author's to think about their manuscript before you put it out there for the world to see. I believe that if our work is exceptional, it will reflect, as does when it's not up to par.
Thanks for putting up with my little lessons, and I hope that at least it helped some of you. I hope all of you have a great weekend and don't forget to leave a comment, I would love to know you thoughts on these two subjects.