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The Love of Dance

Monday, 20 September 2010

Struggling to get the words in the right order?

We all do it, yes, all of us. Even the greatest writers have to juggle each word to ensure each is used to it optimum potential, and of course to check they haven’t used that word too many times.

I recently read a scene from a novel I’m currently working on to the VWC and struggled through the whole thing. It was that terrible it made me laugh with embarrassment, I’m being honest here - it was tragic. Once the audience had also stopped laughing, it really was that bad, the true constructive criticism poured out. The upshot was that all the words were in there but in the wrong order. The ideas were good, but used in the wrong way. It was time to go back to the drawing board.

I attacked this issue in a positive way, after all they liked the ideas, they just needed to be written in a different way – I was up for the challenge. Firstly, I stripped the scene down in to its individual components and then placed them out in front of me. And as I looked, I saw a more coherent way of developing the scene. Now with each section in place I began the rewrite. The words behaved, formed sentences that actually made sense, always a good thing for a sentence, and then those sentences grew in to competent paragraphs. Well, that is what I’m saying now, the proof will be in the reading this coming week.

A little tip: Check to see how many times you use favourite words by using ‘find’ in your word processing package. This will show you how many times you’ve used each word giving you the opportunity to find new and exciting words to replace some of the old favourites. It's surprising how much stronger your work will be.

2 comments:

Elaine AM Smith said...

Hi Susan

I'm writing YA and MG in Watford - would you consider being a Beta buddy? I see you are writing a thriller currently - my MG work steers that way with (generally) shorter words ;)

http://notexactlyblogging.blogspot.com/

Susan said...

Hi Elaine,
Sorry I've only just picked this up.
Why don't you come along to the VWC Verulam Writers Circle in St. Albans. It is a big group and quite friendly, but very helpful.
We are hosting an Open Mic Night this coming Thrusday 25th November, why not pop over and get to know some of us. It will be a fun evening and if you're brave I could find a slot for you to read!!
Let me know.
Susan x