Filtering Filter Words From Your Story
Wednesday August 28, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments
[caption id="attachment_media-9" align="alignright" width="367"] Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com[/caption] Something I’ve been working hard at in my writing is getting rid of filter words. Filtering is using words that put space between the reader and the protagonist to remove you a step from the point of view. Think of words that are basically internal sensations or ways that you would connect to the external world, words like thought, felt, saw, heard or realized. They may keep the reader from connecting with your protagonist. Not a big deal to include these in your first draft, but you need to look for them on the editing phases. They should only be used when they are critical to understanding the sentence. Notice I used “should.” There are no hard, fast rules when it comes to writing, but you take a risk of pushing your reader back a step or slowing down and possibly even pulling them out of the text so it feels more like reading instead of experiencing the story. It might be that you want to add in a few syllables for pace or poetic use, but you need to understand the risk you are taking. Sometimes you can simply move the offending word into dialogue. For example: Tom had the impression that it was reaching out for them. It seemed to reach out to Tom. Or with dialogue: “Is that thing reaching out to us?” Hopefully that gives you the idea. It can be quite insidious. I find myself doing it all the time. See? I did it right there.Read More
Throwback Thursday – It’s much easier to edit someone else’s work!
Thursday August 15, 2019 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Throwback Thursday | Leave Comments
This from Feb 18, 2011. Stacy has published several books now. She has done very well. We haven't worked together since I started my Master's program. I was simply too busy to work on other stuff, but we have kept in contact. I'm very proud of her and a little bit jealous. I need to get busy and knock out a few more novels! Natalie Whipple has written a lot of books as well and her blog is still going.
This week I had something nice happen. I connected with a new writing partner! I'm very excited about it. She is a little farther along in the writer metamorphosis, she has two novels completed already, but has agreed to work with me. We shared some of our chapters and did line edits for each other and it was very eye-opening. I met her over on Natalie Whipple's blog: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/ She set up a Writing Buddy matching thing, which seems to have really taken off and is no longer on her sight. I feel very fortunate to have wandered over there at the right time. I learned that it is much easier to edit someone else's work than your own. This is likely for at least two reasons I can think of off the top of my head. First, it is material you aren't familiar with. I can tell you my first chapter has been edited so many times I've lost count. I've rearranged it half a dozen times also. I'm intimately familiar with the story, so much so that I have a hard time seeing it clearly now. It really pays to have a fresh set of eyes on it. The second reason it a little more esoteric. It's not my story, and I have nothing emotionally invested in it. I haven't spent 3 years toiling over it and stroking it and coaxing it to life. I can see sentences and structure and see things that are slightly confusing because I don't know what the writer had in mind when they created it. As the creator you know the entire story of every character, at least as far as you care to. You know what they are thinking when you're in their head, but the reader only sees the words and sometimes as writers we can get a little lost in there. It helps to have someone able to show us where the dots aren't connecting properly. I hope you have a writing buddy, if you don't I am highly encouraging you to get one. We've just started working together and I am already reaping the rewards of that contact. Good luck in your writing! Clear Ether! Read More
Love Your Words (but not too much)
Monday October 27, 2014 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
Let That Thing Fester
Thursday March 29, 2012 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
Review – Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig
Sunday September 18, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Novel Review | Leave CommentsI’m reading Chuck Wendig’s book on writing, CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY, and it’s not only chock full of good writing tips but is also very entertaining. He has a flair for metaphor and colorful language, so be warned. But, I absolutely love Chuck Wendig, he is irreverent and cheeky and is genuinely funny. One of the things I’ve plucked out of the reading is something I didn’t really have in mind when writing the book, but I think it’s instrumental in creating a story that is engrossing and something that will draw the reader to the next page. That something is tension, or more precisely, building the tension. It should start out slow but the tension should build incrementally to a simmering boil until the climax where it should … climax. I’ve made some notes and know where I need to work it in. It shouldn’t hit you in the face, but be a subtle increase until you can feel it as the reader. I’ve also been thinking about the follow-on stories. Once I print this, I can’t really go back and change it to make it fit the story arc better (well I could if I self-pub this but that is not how I’m going to roll), so I’m trying to figure that stuff out now so I can bring in some foreshadowing or more importantly make sure the right characters are following a story arc. I’m not an outliner normally but I can definitely see the need for it, especially for a series of books where you have overlapping characters and an overarching story arc that needs to be built in. I’m making progress on both fronts, revising/editing and developing the plotline for books two and three. There’s lots of lines of backstory on the cutting room floor.
World of Warcraft is the Bane of Productivity!
Wednesday September 7, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave CommentsI have to come clean. I’m addicted to World of Warcraft. That’s the first step, right? Back before I started writing my novel, I mean years and years before I pretty much didn’t do anything productive with my free time. I played Massive Multiplayer Online games. I’ve played a lot of them, starting with the old Neverwinter Nights game on AOL, Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest 2 and then the mother of all of them … World of Warcraft. That’s not even all of them but you get the idea. I played WoW for probably close to 4 years then finally tired of it and started writing in my spare time instead. I can’t tell you how good it made me feel to do something at least semi-productive with my “free” time. But I did it. A few weeks ago I went back in to WoW to try the new expansion. My kids did it first, then my wife and she said it was fun. One of my coworkers, who plays a lot, said it was fun. It is fun. Now I’m hooked again. I make plans to spend a good part of the day writing or editing and decide just to pop in to do a quick quest and next thing you know the day is gone. Somebody help me! As an aside, we took our daughter to college a few weeks ago and set her free. She came back this past weekend, but you all know how that goes. =) I passed my Air War College test, but it took them 6 weeks to grade the last test and it shot my timeline all to hell, so I won’t be getting promoted on this upcoming board. It’s not their fault, I started way too late. I’ll have it done for next year, so now I can throttle back a bit and actually try to finish editing my book and maybe get in some new writing too. I have some ideas for the sequel that are forming, and I need to get those down, if I can just stay away from WoW. It’s got a very strong pull, but at least I can recognize that I have a problem and there is no such thing as just a little WoW for me. I haven’t
Saturday June 25, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
If you haven’t seen the classic skit on Saturday Night live, here is a link. I think it’s apropos to what I want to talk about this week. It’s all about adding the right components to your story as you go along. Maybe not quite that much cowbell, but definitely more. It may not be quite as important on the first draft, but it really needs to be paid attention to in the rewrite phases. If you’re an aspiring writer you really should be listening to Writing Excuses. They have a real knack for presenting material in a way that is easy to understand and provides some great instruction. They just added the wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal to their permanent team and this week’s episode was about Internal Motivations. She is a great add and she has a fascinating take on how to write and is very good at clearly describing how she thinks about it. This week’s episode spurred a conversation with my wife about maintaining the right perspective through your POV character and how when it is well done really makes a huge difference in the showing instead of telling. I think we all know when we read something and it is compelling. It just feels right and evokes emotions or understanding on our part. However, I’m not convinced that we all know why we feel that way. If a character has been giving hints as to how they think with little snippets of how they see the world peppered in along the story if makes their observations intuitive later in the book. It cuts down on the need to tell about something when you are already in that narrator’s head. My wife made the comment, “isn’t that just common sense?” You would think it would be, but I think a lot of new writers don’t quite get it. It makes a lot of sense on hindsight, when it’s pointed out to you how the author built their character’s POV along the way, but seeing something that “feels” right and really understanding how the author got you there is not so intuitive. We know as writer’s what we should be doing, but so many new writers still end up telling instead of showing because they miss adding the little touches along the way and then want to convey something, but end up having to add an info dump or take the reader out of the story to add a narrative to add in extra stuff to make their point. This becomes the classic telling instead of showing. It’s the smooth touches along the way that add the magic. The reader hardly notices that the writer is adjusting their point of view with subtle hints and observances. In the last book I read, the main character was always noticing what things were made of or who designed it because she was very much about design. It was one of her characteristics that she was good at noticing trends in the subculture and Gibson didn’t just tell us that, he showed it in every detail along the entire story. She noticed architecture and materials and when things were old or new. But it wasn’t in your face; it was just her noticing it, with very little actual text -- just little bits and pieces here and there. As you’re going through your rewrite really focus on staying in the POV of the narrator and show the reader what they see, just a little bit here and there, it will save on the telling later on and will make your character come to life. We can all use a little more cowbell in our writing. Clear Ether!Read More
It’s much easier to edit someone else’s work!
Friday February 18, 2011 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Commentshttp://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/ She set up a Writing Buddy matching thing, which seems to have really taken off and is no longer on her sight. I feel very fortunate to have wandered over there at the right time. I learned that it is much easier to edit someone else's work than your own. This is likely for at least two reasons I can think of off the top of my head. First, it is material you aren't familiar with. I can tell you my first chapter has been edited so many times I've lost count. I've rearranged it half a dozen times also. I'm intimately familiar with the story, so much so that I have a hard time seeing it clearly now. It really pays to have a fresh set of eyes on it. The second reason it a little more esoteric. It's not my story, and I have nothing emotionally invested in it. I haven't spent 3 years toiling over it and stroking it and coaxing it to life. I can see sentences and structure and see things that are slightly confusing because I don't know what the writer had in mind when they created it. As the creator you know the entire story of every character, at least as far as you care to. You know what they are thinking when you're in their head, but the reader only sees the words and sometimes as writers we can get a little lost in there. It helps to have someone able to show us where the dots aren't connecting properly. I hope you have a writing buddy, if you don't I am highly encouraging you to get one. We've just started working together and I am already reaping the rewards of that contact. Good luck in your writing! Clear Ether! Read More
Saturday December 11, 2010 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments
I renamed the book and rearranged the format of the Blog today. I've been waffling on the title for awhile and finally made the plunge. I really should be writing instead of goofing around with this blog, but I am easily distracted. I'm happy to be back to writing the first book, I missed the characters and they are anxious to get going with the story. I really need to buckle down and just write. I was doing a little editing today and was happy with a lot of what I had written. It's always nice to go back and say,"Wow, did I write that? It's not bad." It's a hellava lot better than, "I really suck, I should just quit writing." I know there are weak areas, but I hope to clean those up on the edits. I've been doing a lot of reading about editing lately. There is a lot of advice out there, and I think you can probably find someone that will tell you what you want to hear, follow the rules - never follow the rules, write the way you speak - people don't speak they way it will work in book format, edit as you write - don't edit till you finish. It really boils down to what is going to help your story not suck and following your heart. If you are cut out to do this and make money at it, I think you will either have it or don't (You still need to learn a lot more or just write for yourself). I haven't figured out which one I am yet, I have to actually finish a manuscript first. I am not stopping now till I finish and hopefully I can do it by the end of January. Then the wonderful task of editing and editing again and again, then having someone else edit it. I actually can't wait to get to that part.Read More