Casting Away the Adverb Crutch #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

A recent letter from my editor came back this week where the good news said I’d finally developed an “intuitive clip” to my scenes that work! I’m thrilled! Then I read on to see the points I still need to address. One of them being my crutch–adverbs in dialogue.

What does this mean? I scratched my head. Then I saw the lovely article included in my editor’s notes from The Write Practice by Jeff Elkins.

A brilliant to the point article with three solid tips and plenty of clear examples, I learned:

A character can say the same statement in so many ways. It’s not always the words that matter though, but the body language that goes along to make a statement stronger, disconnected, or distressing, without actually using she said stronger, he said tersely, or longingly, ect.

For example:

Matt stands in front of his open locker, staring at his watch. Another minute is gone. Two more minutes until the warning bell goes off. There’s no more time to finish the assignment before first hour. This sucks. 

He takes out his phone. The text he’d sent ten minutes earlier goes unanswered. What the heck, Mitch? Where are you? He texts again.

The warning bell fires off so loud Matt’s head rattles. Beyond frustrated, he takes out his Mountain Dew and twists off the cap. 

Footsteps register. Fast ones. Matt twists the cap on so tight his hand burns; It’s Mitch. 

Matt could say several things to Mitch: 

  1. “About time. What’s up?”
  2. “Hey. Where have you been?”
  3. “You look like crap. Need a swig of this?”

Mitch may say several things back.

  1. “I’m sorry. You’d never believe the morning at my place.”
  2. “Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it.”
  3. “Thanks. I could use a boost.”

Now here’s where you add the body language.

Matt slams his locker shut. “About time,” he says. What’s up?” 

“I’m so sorry,” Mitch says and folds his hands in prayer. “You’d never believe the morning at my place.” 

-or-

“Hey,” Matt says with a fist up in his usual morning greet. “Where have you been?”

“Ugh,” Mitch groans and bumps fists. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

-or-

“You look like crap,” Matt says, handing the Mountain Dew to Mitch. “Need a swig of this?”

“Thanks,” Mitch says and points to his straight up bed hair. “I could use a boost.”

If you want to find some really great adverb examples, visit Elkins post.

Last advice I learned about dialogue and body language is to always read your dialogue outloud. 

Also, don’t forget about the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist. There are tons of great body language examples for mood to use with dialogue.

Happy Hop Day 🙂

A Journey for Every Word #IWSG #amwriting #dreams

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here

Thank you to our awesome co-hosts this month: T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

***

"The grass grew green again and the woods were full of wildflowers." Laura Ingalls Wilder

At four years old, I sat at a tiny desk in a storage room in my mother’s basement. I must have been elevated on a pile of old books so I could reach the top of the desk. It wasn’t the books or the desk that caught my eye. In front of me and on the desk sat an old black typewriter. The keys were metal and round. When I pressed them, a tiny metal foot struck paper and left behind an inked symbol.

At four years old, I couldn’t read, but I understand the idea how symbols tied together built stories.  My older brother could write stories. He could read very well too. I wanted to be like him.

This month’s question asks: “What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just ‘know’ suddenly you wanted to write?”

I think my journey started because of how long it took me to read. I also struggled to write clear sentences, later paragraphs. I think my journey to write came from my drive to read, then took off when my teachers noticed me and complimented my work. They encouraged me to continue to write my creative ideas down. They encouraged me to read my thoughts to others and submit them.

I did. I still am, or at least I’m working on that.

I chose the Laura Ingalls Wilder quote because my mother would read me her books when I was really sick. It was comforting. Wilder’s work is so vivid I couldn’t help but imagine her life back then.

Happy IWSG day. May this new year help you move closer in the direction you wish to go.

Write Your Perfect Sky #IWSG #amwriting #dreams

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts feature fabulous writing friends  Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

***

On some far away cloud, writing success is me, able to spend the time I need producing stories in a timely fashion from my imagined worlds. I see me, continuing to partner with my writing coach to hone my stories into polished manuscripts ready for the world. I see me, conducting more writing and editing workshops to young people who need it, much further away in the sky.

This is my cloud nine vision years down the road.  My children are still too young yet to devote the time I’d like to have, but they still see me struggling to hold on to my dreams, something I want them to always remember. 

This months question asks: “Let’s play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Please excuse me for my late post as the stomach bug has struck my house. 

Questions: What about you? What’s your dream? Are you doing it? Are you making plans and doing those?

A Consequential Brainstorm #IWSG #amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts feature other fabulous writing friends with me:

C. Lee McKenzie, Lisa Buie-Collard , Sadira Stone, and Patricia Josephine.  

Check out our IWSG homepage for recent news and events.  And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂 

***

"The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand." Frank Herbert.

The weirdest google discovery I ever made was the existence of bizarre planets held in a tidal lock to their star. One side always faces their star and the other side is permanently without that light and heat. These planets look exactly like their names—Eyeball planets.

Twilight areas truly exist. Ice and perpetual night are at 180 degrees of the planet, darkening the backside of the eyeball appearance while clouds and vapor create light and white uncertainty like an eye.

And there are tons of them.

My favorite discovery is how some of the hotter planets may fade toward the center, some sort of midpoint area, cooling with the mix of night on the other side of the world, which, may resort in water through the midline. Water aids life. Could potential life exist in this mid ring? Scientists aren’t sure, but the idea of life on these strange planets is very intriguing.

And just to remind you, I’m no scientist, so this post is all my interpretation of the Youtube surfing I’ve done.

This month, the IWSG question of the month asked: “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled in researching a story?”

I hope my answer was a little interesting to you too.

Other news?


My busy home and career life haven’t changed. I have little time to market or think outside of my writing, but I’m writing, a little each day. I’m also working with an exceptional writing coach.  I’ve slowed down my manuscript and am working with her, thrilled with our once a month correspondence. It’s been the most fantastic experience. I’m growing in ways I never imagined.

So what am I reading?

I just finished one of the best trilogies I’ve come across in a long time. A page turner series I couldn’t put down: The Chemical Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. If you like YA and untraditional futuristic possibility, you’ll like this one.

So Happy IWSG Day everyone 🙂 Keep Dreaming. Keep Plotting. Just don’t stop because of the struggle 🙂