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That seems like PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 13 February 2011 11:34

That seems like.

This is an old word-trick of mine I use while editing (and I'm certainly finding it useful while reworking Early ReTyrement). I came up with it a few years back and it's helping me to pull all sorts of chestnuts out of my old, old novel. Keep these three words in mind while you punch up your work...

THAT - I use "that" too often as a filler word and end up tripping over it. "He knew that the only thing that he had to fear was that fear, itself."

SEEMS - It's a weak word, once we use to add mystery into a story yet it ends up making the author appear uncertain. "The sky seemed the shade of robin's egg blue". No, was it blue or not? the only time you should use seems is when you are describing an uncertain character's observation. "It seemed to Watson that Sherlock had gone out". This gives you wiggle room to spring a surprise or introduce a character's mistake. That way, you can point to your character and say, "He, he thought it. I was only writing it down."

LIKE - This is a little flag to trigger a mental review. Similes and metaphors are great tricks, one of the first we learn. But overused, they can exasperate the reader who feels he is reading two descriptions, not one. When you hit the word like, pause and review the comparison. If you haven't been metaphoric recently and its nice and clever and short, go with it. But review it nonetheless.

Anyway, these are tricks of the trade you might wish to use. It seems that these could be useful, like having an editor that stands over your shoulder, catching all that is wrong.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 February 2011 11:57
 
Goodbye to a good friend. PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 05 February 2011 12:47

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

-Thomas Jones (1892 - 1969)

One of JB's and my good friends, Kanchan Banga, is leaving the states to return to Canberra. We met her through her brother, a professional work irritant and time-keeping scofflaw, through her efforts to arrange a surprise party for him (he was). Since then, we've gone out to French romantic comedies at the Enzian a couple of times - laughs around the table and all that. She even bought us all a bottle of wine once, a very kind gesture.

This being Orlando, we couldn't go out with them for dinner too often (since everything but Taco Bell closes at 9pm). We closed out an Olive GardenUsed without any permission whatsoever once, and had a super meeting at a great Korean restaurant with them and my sister (Pat and Kanchan got along like a house of fire (whatever that means)) whispering girlish secrets and berating their various brothers.

Seeking greener pastures, she's returning to Oz. Normally I'm overjoyed when someone leaves Plasticville (i.e. Orlando), not not this time.

We'll miss your sunny smile, Kanchan!

 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 February 2011 08:14
 
Baker's dozin'... PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 February 2011 15:35

Sat by the pond at lunch and slogged through the ongoing ReTyrement rewrite.

Got to the point where we see the hero at work in a wineshop (that serves food) in 330BC. He's humping over the fire, turning the spitted goat, checking the bread on the metal plate...

Something in my mind went clunk!

I checked this online. Don't know why I didn't realize this (nor did any of my editing readers realize this) but you absolutely have to bake bread in an oven. Now, there were little ovens, even portable ovens, back then and you could shove bread in the top and close it up with a stone (or clay). But, no, you don't bake bread on a cookie sheet (unless, of course, it's in an oven!).

Gads, now I gotta clean this reference up across 500 pages.

Wonder why, after all these years, it struck me as false.

 
Small steps. Baby steps. PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 31 January 2011 20:42

Last night the cat cuddled with me while I started reworking Early Retyrement.

It's going very slowly.

I originally finished this book around 2000 (that's the oldest filedates I've discovered regarding this). Since then, I wrote a published novel, a published help book, three unpublished manuscripts, 200-plus radio scripts, a half-dozen short stories, even some freelanced erotica. In a way, it's like going back to visit with a younger, cruder me, someone rough around the edges, lacking refinement (and I was 41 then, ferchristsakes!). Amazing to see these windy, twisty, wasteful sentences. Daunting to see my main character (and even, sometimes, my scenery) overreact. Very strange to take a crude paragraph and rework it with the tricks I know now, to tighten it up, turn its screws, make it hum.

But road-grading a novel takes time. Then we've got test readers to bribe, artists to find, an ISBN to secure, all that stuff.

I'm going to be 61 when this is over.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 20:57
 
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