It’s been weeks since my fingers have stroked the keys of my computer to get a post out, and I miss it. We just went through a major move and started a remodel at our new house on the second day so I’ve been busy. So busy I had to set my writing and critique group aside for a bit. But I’m back in the writer’s chair and ready to get to work on my creative side again.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Christmas is just around the corner too. It’s that time of year when no matter how much you want to write, there’s no time for it even if you don’t move the week of one of the biggest holidays. I guess I’ll just have to sneak in a bit here and there when I can.
Dear critique group you’ve been so neglected. Thank you for being patient with me. I’ll get on top of your submissions this weekend.
Y’all have a great weekend and I’ll work on some great material for you next week.
Describing places and people is so much fun. We can build these wonderful characters and make them so real to the reader. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of explaining instead of showing.
Let me give you an example of what I mean:
- The brunette peered into the mirror. Her red lips that had a natural pout to them, and her big green eyes were the talk of every man she passed. Her skin was flawless. She wore a purple shirt of the finest quality. Her jeans were the perfect cut for her figure.
- The road was covered with heavy, overgrown oak trees. The grass had a faded appearance at the edge of the shadows leading to the trees. A house sat just beyond the little dip in the drive at the end of the trees.
You can picture this lady and the scene with ease, yet it’s a bit flat. It sounds okay at first glance, but look deeper. This kind of surface writing dulls your work and slows the pace of the storyline.
Want to see an improvement? How about this?
- Jack studied the brunette. “Those pouty lips and big green eyes aren’t going to get you my tickets. You should’ve gotten here earlier.”
Well it might work on any other man she passed, but he was different.
She drew close to him. “Come on. The ticket holder promised them to me. I…I couldn’t get here sooner.”
He tried to ignore the plea in her eyes, and did his best not to trail her figure with his eyes. Her well cut jeans and very tailored shirt didn’t mean a thing to him. “Sorry.”
- Brenna hunched low as she passed under the low tree line then laughed at herself and shook her head. Fear had no place in her mind right now. Yet she couldn’t deny the death of the grass as it edged toward the drive her little Pinto crawled over.
A glimpse of white indicated the house that seemed to move further away as she pushed the vehicle forward.
It’s as simple as putting your descriptions into action. Make them visible through another’s eyes as seen with Jack. Or show them by using action words to dictate what the reader is seeing.
So have fun with your writing. Find ways to bring it alive and entice readers to keeping reading using this simple technique.
As some of you know, I’ve been in the process of moving for months now. One thing after another has deterred, held up, and lengthened the time to closing. It’s so easy to get frustrated and upset when things keep going wrong, but I’ve learned a very important lesson from this episode in my life. Keep looking to God. Stop trying to make it work in my time and my way. Return to the peace and inner joy God has for me even through uncertain times.
This concept also applies to our writing. When we get to the end of a manuscript, we want to write it off as finished. Yes, it has to pass through some editing phases, but we writers try to minimize that part of the work. Sometimes our writing needs to be moved around. Whether it’s a chapter or a scene, it’s hard to face that our work isn’t always complete.
There have been times I crossed my arms and shook my head at the computer. Move things around?! Now that’s a cuss word in the making after what I’ve been through. Like moving, changing our manuscript can be a long ordeal. It’s painful to cut and remold some of the work we’ve done. Yet, once we sit down and sort through the boxes, we can see where things need to go in the new format. We can rebuild in a better way.
Be encouraged. I bet most of us would say that it was worth the pain and grueling work when it’s over. So press on and cut and move and remold your WIP. You’ll be glad you did.