As you know, I recently spent some time editing THE PROPHECY KEEPER, moving forward towards sending it out. Editing for me requires multiple steps and focuses. I have to get peer review, critiques and such, look over how the plot is running, and search for any factual or character fallacies. I have to think about how it would look to a professional in the business. I've had to teach myself to pay close attention to when I get a little bit of an off feeling while reading my work. I'm tempted to ignore that feeling, but I've realized it's wiser to listen to it. Usually it means I've tried to suspend disbelief a little too much.
But on top of all that, as every author knows, there is the dreaded line edit, where you go through and pick out all of your words, make sure every one has their 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 for myself a list of words to eliminate or minimize in my novels, so I can go back and search those out specifically and make the line edit quicker.
Many of these words I found through searching the internet for unnecessary phrases to edit away. This was quite useful. Others naturally lend themselves to passive voice and therefore need to be paid attention to. Then still others are my personal word weaknesses, words I use way too often that I need to destroy.
So in order to help all you writers out there, I thought I'd post my list of words to pay attention to while editing (as well as some formatting advice.) 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, as that's my usual tense in writing.
Well, here it is! You asked, and I answered! (Actually, mostly, I asked and answered myself. But that's cool cuz I like talking to myself. I am a writer.) A survey roundup post, with way too many questions and answers because I have issues like that. Enjoy!
Questions You Asked
Julia Byers: Why is "potato" your catchphrase?
Because of my college choices. Potatoes are famously 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.
Moving on from that random bonus post of yesterday... we reach our last Parts of the Novel installment. Good to see you back around! Today, we cover the last lines of novels, as opposed to the first part I did on first lines. Last lines aren't quite as pivotal as first lines in many ways, mainly the publication way, but they do matter because they are the last impression you leave with your reader, the last thing they have to hold on to. And if you've got a really great last line, you're going to have them thinking for a while.
Last lines also often relate to the title. A good last line leaves a punch to the story point, which should also be reflected in said title. Many last lines actually use the title as their final pronouncement. Others just reference the same idea.
So, after that first lines post, you probably know what's coming. Let's start with the best last lines of other people's works, and then I'll give you some of mine with some spoilers omitted. Keep in mind, editing/publishing means my lines may change!
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
Well 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 quite known for my paleness, which is partially natural and partially because I'm one of those people who hides indoors all the time. I'm actually quite proud of how pale I am. I consider it kind of like the 50s look, or whatever. Nice and pale. But let's see if I'm too pale, shall we? Here we go.
Step One: Make sure you are not a vampire.
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 do my own post on the subject. (Speaking of dates, also, 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.)
So honestly, the whole first line issue in novels really 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, what with exposition and at-first-it's-cliche-and-then-it-gets-less-cliche. I'm a fan of prologues for the action and stuff, which is also not "in" at the moment. I'll admit it's a problem. But it makes me mad that 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 go for it. I think this is rubbish, but maybe it's because I'm such a virulent reader. I always read the synopsis flapishness, and then I go ahead and dive in if I like the idea. I'll admit a particularly boring start will jolt me out (I had this problem with Lord of the Rings. Also, Inkheart.), but in general the first part of the book has very little to do with the actual book quality.
Moving past that though, it is true, and always will be, that the first line makes the book. Not to mention, first lines are particularly amusing to peruse. You can always get a sense of the story from a really good first line, and hopefully it'll jolt you as well. So today I'm going to list some of my favorite first lines from books I've read, and also give you the first lines of my books (no guarantees on their quality). So sit back, and enjoy!
Yay! The humor is back! Sorry it took a little siesta there. Now, it has come back around, and is ready for you to enjoy. Come back next time for the first in a series of Parts of the Novel, focusing on the first line of a book!
As I said last time, today I'd like to talk a little about my religion. I'm a Mormon, officially known as a member of the LDS church. Mormonism is the slang nickname for our religion, originally used as an insult but gradually adapted as a general recognition. The actual name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, shortened to the LDS church.
I decided to talk about it today because April 6th is considered the official date of our church's organization, not to mention that today is one of our General Conference dates. That's like a big church-wide meeting that's broadcasted across the globe, where our leaders talk to us. So I figured I'd explain some of the basic concepts of our church. If you want more info, you can check out our church's website. Or hey, you could even watch General Conference yourself!
So to explain our church, I'm just going to list and explain our Thirteen Articles of Faith, which were written as an explanation of our church way back at the beginning. That should cover pretty much all the basics, for those of you wanting an intro.
1) We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. This covers a couple of things. First off, our belief in God, and in Christ. We are Christians despite the common misconception against this. Then it looks over our view of the trifecta of God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Our church is different in the sense that we believe all three are different beings, which is shown by the emphasized language in this statement. God is the father of our spirits, and has a perfected body. Christ is our spiritual "older brother", and he now has also been resurrected into a perfect body. The Holy Ghost is an angel of sorts, without a body, who ministers to the people on Earth.
It was my nineteenth birthday yesterday! Yayyyyyyyyyy!
So in honor of me, I'm sharing another 25 things about me. Hope you enjoy!
1) I gravitate towards slightly off-beat and very talented people. My friends and crushes are almost always within this description. I need a little weirdness to get me out of my shell, and since I'm already weird, just, inside of me rather than outwardly, it works out very well. I also love talented people, musically, sports-wise, artistically, or socially, both because they're fun to have around and usually passionate, but also because I actually 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.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. Basically, stories are my life.
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