Thursday, 16 February 2012

Top Five Mistakes I Caught On Revisions

Busy week for me my friends...my YA paranormal romance, NIGHT SHIFT, is now officially on submission. *throws confetti* More details to follow in the coming weeks.

My present TBR pile, not exactly as shown.
photo credit, heroinetv.com
This is an exciting time, if only for the fact the book has had such an impressive growth spurt since it met my agent, @rivetingrosie. And yes, after months—okay years—of working on it, I guess I've earned some time to sit back and start making a dent in that huge pile of books on my nightstand.

WRONG!

Now is the time to revise that other book I've been working on. As I go through the MS, a pattern has emerged. It's nice to see I can spot my own writing tics now. Here are the top five mistakes I caught on revisions.

1. My characters bite their lips and raise their eyebrows way too much.

2. 'Cory ran across the lawn.' Sounds much better than, 'I watched Cory as he ran across the lawn.'

3. When I take out the word, 'just' the plot STILL moves forward. Amazing!

4. 'Jesse felt embarrassed.' is a lazy way of saying, 'Jesse blushed as she squirmed on the bench, her eyes darted everywhere around the room, except where Cory was standing.'

5. Most words ending in 'ly' are unnecessary.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Next Monday I'll be blogging the latest episode of Once Upon A Time.

Cheers!

15 comments:

Heather Mihok said...

Yes, these do sound familiar! My characters always smile and nod, all day long. They're generally a happy, agreeing bunch which makes revising kind of annoying. I also overuse the word "just." It's a bad, bad habit that must be broken. :-P How great that you can recognize your mistakes! It should make writing the next ms easier... right? :-)

Ann Marie Walker said...

And don't forget shrugging...my characters shrug so often they're practically mimes!

Bethany Myers said...

Ah, yes the shrugging! Who knew shoulders could be so expressive?

Jen Downey said...

And when they're not shrugging, they're pausing. And don't even get me started on when they pause to shrug!

Claudia Lefeve said...

LOL I just finished revising and proofing my WIP (notice that 'just'?) and I found that I use 'that' a lot (see?) I went back and deleted over 200 'that's'!

Kimberlee Turley said...

In addition to all the above, I just realized in my MS I have a few places where I misused "farther/further."

My first novel had a lot of adverbs. I think it was commonly acceptable 10-20 years ago since most of the older books I pick up off the shelves have tons of them. The newer stuff doesn't.

Bethany Myers said...

Even when you take out all the 'justs' the plot still moves forward. Amazing!

Bethany Myers said...

So true, Dickens would spend four pages describing the fog.

Jackie said...

I have an "arched his eyebrow" addiction!
Also, I went through my wip and removed the words "I turned to see..." It's another lazy way to tell instead of show.

Bethany Myers said...

My characters were turning so much they needed Gravol.

Valerie Cole said...

I tend to gravitate to a lot of "as" constructions. "She did this AS she did that." A CP made me take out EVERY single one.

I should do a count now, there should only be one or two now in my entire MS.

Bethany Myers said...

Thanks for the comment, Valerie. I'm guilty of that one too.

LisaAnn said...

Love this! I am obsessed with the phrase "just like," and I describe WAY too many things my characters are doing during dialogue. (Ben shifted the hem of his t-shirt and ran his fingers through his hair before shrugging and saying, "I don't know.")

My characters ALWAYS seem to have their breath swept from their lungs, too. Don't think that's physically possible.

Bethany Myers said...

The lungs get mentioned a lot in mine as well. Deep breaths, Lisa. Thanks for commenting. Good luck with your writing.

Jennifer Malone said...

My male characters seem to do a lot of grinning and winking- I'm wondering what this says about my own idea of flirting:) Great post!

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