As you know, I've recently spent some time editing #ProphecyStory, moving towards sending it out. Editing requires multiple steps. I have to get peer review, look over the plot, and search for any factual or character inconsistencies. I have to think about how the story would look to a professional in the business. I've also taught myself to pay close attention to when I get a little bit of an "off" feeling while reading my work. Usually, it means that I've tried to suspend disbelief a little too much.
On top of all that, there is the dreaded line edit, where I go through and make sure every word has its place (and get rid of that darned passive voice). This is very time-consuming. It also gets kind of frustrating. So in order to make it slightly easier, I've compiled a list of words to eliminate or minimize in my novels so that I can search them out specifically.
Many of these words I found through searching the Internet for unnecessary phrases to edit out. This was quite useful. Some of these words naturally lend themselves to passive voice and therefore need to be paid attention to. Then still others are my personal word weaknesses, which I use way too often and need to destroy.
In order to help all you writers out there, I thought I'd post my list of words (and some formatting tips). I guess it's my way of giving back to the beautiful Internet that originally helped me find some of these! Keep in mind as you go through that these are all in past tense forms.
Words to Eliminate
Here it is! You asked, and I answered! (Actually, mostly, I asked and answered myself. But that's cool because I like talking to myself. I am a writer.) Enjoy today's survey roundup.
Questions You Asked
Julia Byers: Why is "potato" your catchphrase?
Because of my college choices. Potatoes are grown both in Alamosa, CO, where I currently go to college, and in Rexburg, ID, which is the location of the college I may be transferring to next year. (Shhhh that's a secret. Kind of.) Also, it's really fun to say. Potato. Potato. Say it with me, boys and girls. Potato.
Questions I Stole from Facebook and My Friend Hero
Moving on from that random bonus post yesterday... we reach our last Parts of the Novel installment for now. Good to see you again!
Today, we cover the last lines of novels, in contrast to the first post I did on first lines. Last lines aren't quite as pivotal as first lines when it comes to getting published, but they do matter because they are the last impression you leave with your reader. If you've got a really great last line, you're going to have them thinking for a while.
Last lines often relate to the title.as well A good last line has thematic meaning, which should be reflected in the book's title. Many last lines actually use the title as their final pronouncement. Others just reference the same idea.
So let's start with my favorite last lines from other people's works, and then I'll share some of mine with spoilers omitted. Keep in mind, my last lines may change!
Best Last Lines of Other Books
I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, from The Hunger Games trilogy
Today, my dear friend Julia posted this: How to Tell If You're Too Pale. I loved it so much I thought I'd try out her steps myself. I am a very pale person, which is partially due to genetics and partially because I'm one of those people who hides indoors all the time. I'm actually proud of how pale I am. I consider it kind of like the 50s look, or whatever. But let's see if I'm too pale, shall we?
Step One: Make sure you are not a vampire.
In our second installment of Parts of a Novel, I thought we'd continue from first lines into the issue of titles. Good titles can be really hard to come up with. When I was younger, I thought I was the title genie. Now, I realize how truly difficult it is to make up a title that properly reflects the novel, or chapter, that you're working on. My writing buddies and I recently went on a jag trying to come up with a title for one of our books. It started somewhere along the lines of Angry Girl with a Gun and regressed into Potato.
Therefore, I will now be talking about a a subject I know quite little about, so the rest of you can also know quite little about it!
Some of you probably know about the many classic books that had their titles changed before publication. For example, Dracula was originally The Dead Un-Dead.,which is not as striking. Gone with the Wind started out as Tomorrow is Another Day, which doesn't give off the sense of stilted romanticism that the book has. Pride and Prejudice used to have the less alliterative First Impressions for a title. To Kill a Mockingbird sounds a lot more interesting, and has a lot more symbolic meaning, than just plain Atticus. Finally, The Great Gatsby was retitled six or seven whole times. The one that almost made it through was The High Bouncing Lover, which just sounds ridiculous. I'm rather fond of Among Ash Heaps and Millionaires, but The Great Gatsby works because of its direct connection to the most interesting and tragic character in the book.
Those examples should make it clear how freaking hard this is. I mean, all these classics with different original titles! Just think about that. Even these famous authors with their famous books had no idea what they were doing when it came to titles.
Starting today, I'm going to fill you in on important parts of the novel. I'll start with what starts it all and talk about the first sentence!
The day I began writing this, I read a post by author Maggie Stiefvater on the subject, and I thought I'd write my own post. (Speaking of dates, a quick apology for me posting this a bit early. Tomorrow I'm going on an English Department trip, and I don't know when/if I'll have le Internet with me.)
Honestly, the whole first line issue in novels ticks me off. Not the first line so much as the "first page" or "first chapter" or even "first three chapters." I guess my intros can be slow. I'm a fan of prologues, which is also not "in" at the moment. I'll admit it's a problem. But it makes me mad that literary agents and publishers judge based off of just the first section of your work.
I have been informed that this is because readers often look through the first pages, and if you don't hook them, they don't buy the book. I struggle to believe this, but maybe it's because I'm such a voracious reader. I decide what to read based on the blurb; I dive in if I like the idea. I'll admit a particularly boring start can jolt me out (I had this problem with Lord of the Rings. Also, Inkheart.), but in general, the first part of the book doesn't decide overall enjoyment for me.
However, it is true, and always will be, that the first line can make the book. They're particularly amusing to peruse. You get a sense of the story from a really good first line, and hopefully, it will have a strong effect on you too. So today I'm going to list some of my favorite first lines and also give you the first lines of my WIPs (no guarantees on their quality).
Best First Lines of Other Books
Yay! The humor is back! Sorry it took a little siesta there. It has come back around today and is ready for you to enjoy.
It was my nineteenth birthday yesterday! Yayyyyyyyyyy!
So in honor of that, I'm sharing another 25 things about me.
1) I gravitate towards slightly off-beat and talented people. My friends and crushes almost always fit this description. I need a little weirdness to get me out of my shell, and since I'm weird, more inside of me than outwardly, it works out very well. I also love talented people, both because they're fun to have around and are usually passionate, but also because I kinda gravitate towards power. I guess the logic goes, if I don't end up personally making a difference in the world, I'll have done it secondarily through my wondrous friends.
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