Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Crit Stuff 2

Warning: More educational stuff of a writing advice nature.
(You know if you need this, uh, weighty advice.)

New Year's Resolution: Cut the flab from your writing.

One trap that some beginning writers fall into is overwriting. During my stint as an adjunct instructor of freshman grammar and comp, I frequently encountered students who, figuring that more is better, overwrote whenever possible. I'm sure all their extraneous adjectives modified by unnecessary adverbs (which were, in turn, modified by other even more unnecessary adverbs) added several pounds to the load of student papers I lugged home.

One of the blogs I follow had some good advice posted yesterday about overwriting. In fact, it's better advice than I could give. Therefore, hie thee hence to Moonrat's Editorial Ass blog and peruse her January 2nd post, "Overwriters Anonymous."

This excerpt addresses one of my pet peeves:

Most of your problems come down to dialogue tags. It's ok to use the word "said," even if you use it more than once. Really. You can just say "Jackie said" instead of "Jackie sneered jeeringly" or "Jackie continued her bombastic harangue, her outraged grimace flickering as a sympathetic smirk fought its way to the surface." Repeat after me: WORDS SPEAK LOUDER THAN DIALOGUE TAGS.
And there's more good stuff where that came from. Check it out.
~

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