This is the continued saga of my foray into Janice Hardy’s Revise Your Novel in 31 Days at-home workshop (blog.janicehardy.com).
Today I am getting rid of anything that weakens my prose. If I cut the word, does it make the sentence better? Is there a stronger noun or verb I could use? Am I relying on boring words when I could be more descriptive?
Janice has a long list of words you can search for, but for the purpose of this blog I am going to focus on the word “looked.”
It turns out I am in love with the words “look, looked, or looking.” It is everywhere in my story. Definitely on every page, usually multiple times. Here are some changes I made:
Saver looked worried. – changed to – Saver’s voice wavered.
A look of concern on her face – changed to – concern on her face
schooling her face to look neutral – changed to- keeping her face neutral
Solomon looked her over and rubbed his chin. – changed to – Solomon rubbed his chin.
He turned to look at Great. – changed to – He turned to Great.
Also, my characters are always “looking at” someone. – Some of these I deleted, some I changed to more suitable verbs such as, stared, gazed, or studied.
Results: I had no idea. It seems my characters cannot speak without first looking. This is why I signed up for this workshop—sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees.
Like me, you may discover you have certain “favorite” weak words. Once you are aware of them, you will catch them more consistently as you write.
Many authors recommend you set your story aside for a period of time before editing. Then you can look at it from a fresh perspective. I agree with this suggestion, but I also want to get the basics taken care of before I pick the story up again as a whole.
See you on the next page.