Thursday, November 13, 2008

Writing, writing, writing....

(Outside my window, the sky is gray and cloudy. It's rained almost all day.)

Working on edits. My editor is awesome. Writers, this is the first phase of editing you will go through .... the macro edits. Her comments and suggestions are fleshing out my characters to a greater degree, and I'm learning so much about how to change those pesky 'ing' words into a more aggressive voice.


Jessica said...

Ooh, I hope you do a post on ing words. I didn't realize they indicated weakness. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi InSpire -

I second Jessica's suggestion. Those ing words creep into my writing more often than I'd like to admit.

Susan :)

Inspire said...

Hi Ladies,

Thanks for commenting on my blog. Regarding 'ing' words, my editor shared this with me. This is not a quote but the jest of what she wrote.

The majority of sentences where 'ing' is used (present participle)slow the pace and introduce a repetitive rhythm. She went on to say that there are times when 'ing' is effective, even the best choice. But it is usually less elegant and can bring a sentence, even a paragraph to a snail's pace.
Words ending in 'ing' are passive voice.

She suggests the book 'The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself'.

An example in my manuscript ---
'He pulled down his slouched hat to block out the glare of the sun peeking through the trees.' The revised version would be 'He pulled down his slouched hat closer to his eyes to block the glare of the sun that peeked through the trees.

Instead of using 'peeking' use 'that peeked'.

A few other examples.

'She was running as fast as she could.'

Change to:

'She ran as fast as she could.'

'Pulling her close, he began kissing her.'

'He pulled her closer and kissed her.'

An example of when an 'ing' works is at the beginning of a sentence.

'Standing on the edge of the cliff, he looked down at the sea.'

Still it could be changed to --

'He stood at the edge of the cliff and looked down at the sea.'

Sometimes it is as simple as adding
'and' and using an 'ed' ending.

'He stood still for several moments, estimating what war and time had done to his father's house.'

Change to:

'He stood still for several moments, and estimated what war and time had done to his father's house.'

What I am learning is it's all about pacing and moderation. You want to write in an active voice. This keeps the pace of the novel moving forward.

Jessica said...

Yikes! I'm glad I checked back or I would have missed the mini lesson!
Thanks :-)

Bonnie Toews said...

A great lesson, Rita. Thanks. Now I will have to go back over my manuscript and see if I have fallen into the "ing" trap too.