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 going to focus on misused words and awkward phrases.
Some commonly misused words are who/that, few/less, farther/further, which/that, and lay/lie.
Another thing I will look for is using the wrong homonym, such as there/their/they’re, it’s/its, whose/who’s, your/you’re, and loose/lose.
Misplaced or dangling modifiers make a sentence read in unintentional and sometimes comical fashion, such as eyes darting around the room, feet wandering the streets, or a cart driving under an arch filled with watermelons.
My search on these words found several instances where I misused farther/further. Farther = distance, something measurable. In two instances I used “further” when I was actually talking about a measurement. At my last critique group meeting, it was noted that I had used “who’s” in a line where I meant “whose.”
Results: I am relishing the revising I have done so far. Just 28 days ago I thought my story was in reasonably good shape. Now I know it is much closer to being polished. It’s like the difference between wearing something off the rack and a designer gown.
We all have certain words that give us trouble. One set of words I see commonly misspelled is loose/lose. That’s the benefit of editing our work in a workshop like this—it brings awareness to our foibles so we can create a story that is cleaner and more attractive to readers.
What words do you have to keep an eye on? Do you have any tricks or tips to help you choose the right one?
See you on the next page.