Hunched behind a cluttered desk in a dim, dusty room; or perhaps on a veranda overlooking the ocean typing away on a laptop. Both scenarios an easy lifestyle?
Whatever you see, the reality for most of us is this.
There are many days when a writer has no time to write. Running an author business may, on the surface, seem like an idealistic way to spend your time. While it is such a gratifying career, there are many challenges and learning curves constantly pulling an author away from the craft of writing.
In September 2017, I was excitedly ready to publish my first book, The Royal Tournament—a prequel to the Soul Forge Saga.
The self-publishing process seemed daunting and I had several questions, not to mention, the many roadblocks that appeared when attempting to publish my book.
Through a Facebook group I belonged to at the time, I posted a request for advice about getting through the more complicated aspects of Amazon and getting my book uploaded. It’s not easy the first time you do it!
A fellow member, Science-Fiction author, David M. Kelly, reached out. We had a lengthy discussion through private messaging and eventually, he gave me a call to walk me through the upload process, as well as tackle the treaty part of the financial aspect with the U.S. based Amazon.
That phone call lasted over an hour. David’s long-distance phone bill, I am sure, suffered as a result!
We discovered that we live 5 hours apart, me in Cambridge, Ontario, and Dave in Sudbury, Ontario.
Soon, through that simple act of collaboration and support, we became fast friends.
As I am wrapping up the third book of the Epic Fantasy series, Soul Forge, I am humbled by the many people who come together to bring my fantasy books to publication. I also wonder how I actually find the time to write with all the other tasks I need to attend to. That’s where my team comes in. A team that I am so fortunate and grateful for.
At age 51, the decision to leave my position in the police sector for a full-time writing career was not easy. The pay, the pension, the health benefits, the vacation time was all great, but the stress was killing me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to follow my dream and passion for writing and now this is my full-time job. No pay, no pension, no health benefits, I work at least 12 hour days and can’t afford a vacation!
But I am happy.
Reflecting on this as I take a break from polishing the suggested edits, I realize just how much people power it takes to put a book out there.
Source: Diana Urban
43 Words to delete from your writing now!
Really, very. These are useless modifiers. You should be able to find stronger verbs or adjectives for whatever you’re trying to enhance. For example, “He ran very quickly along the really long field.” can be, “He sprinted across the vast field.”
That. If a sentence still makes sense after removing “that,” delete it. For example, “This is the most amazing blog post that I’ve ever read.” can be, “This is the most amazing blog post I’ve ever read.”
Just. I have a hard time removing “just,” especially in dialogue. But for the most part, you don’t need it, and too many can make your dialogue or prose repetitive.
Then. When showing a sequence of events, either remove “then” or try using “and” instead of “then.” Using “then” frequently sounds repetitive and even juvenile. “I shut the car door, then tripped over the sidewalk. Then Bob pointed and laughed, and then my cheeks flushed.” sounds better as, “I shut the car door and tripped over the sidewalk. My cheeks flushed as Bob pointed and laughed.”
Totally, completely, absolutely, literally. These words don’t add information to a sentence. For example, “The box was completely full of clothes.” reads the same as, “The box was full of clothes.” or better yet, “The box was stuffed with clothes.”
Definitely, certainly, probably, actually, basically, virtually. Again, these words don’t add information. If the sentence makes sense without these words, remove them.
Start, begin, began, begun. These words are unnecessary unless an interruption to the action soon occurs. But for the most part, you can remove these words.
Rather, quite, somewhat, somehow. A movie doesn’t have to be “rather dull,” it can just be “dull.” Delete!
Said, replied, asked, and any other dialogue tag.
Down, up. Usually, these words are unnecessary and you can remove them. For example, “I sat down on the floor.” could be, “I sat on the floor.” and “I stood up.” could be, “I stood.”
Wonder, ponder, think, thought, feel, felt, understand, realize. When you add any of these terms, you’re removing readers from the introspection and adding useless words. For example, “I wondered whether Johnny was the murderer.” could be, “Was Johnny the murderer?” If the narrator questions, “Was Johnny the murderer?” it’s self-explanatory that the narrator is wondering it. This also helps readers feel closer to your narrator, and more involved in the speculation.
Breathe, breathe, inhale, exhale. These are far too commonly used by many authors to describe character internals, including me! Instead of deleting, you’ll have to find an alternative way to describe how a character is reacting to whatever has made them breathe quickly, exhale sharply, or “Let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.” Ick! I highly recommend The Emotion Thesaurus in paperback, not digital, so you can skim through any time.
Shrug, nod, reach. Every author has her own quirks, and over time, you should become familiar with your own. These are a few of mine — in my first drafts, I have characters shrug, nod, and reach for things way too often — and I know a lot of other writers include these, too. Always have second readers, whether you’re writing a novel or blog post. They’ll be able to point out actions that happen too frequently better than you can, because you’ll usually be too close to your own writing to notice.
How to find these words in your writing
If you’re using Word, it’s easy to find these useless words. First, make sure to select a highlight color from the toolbar besides white.
Click Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace. Click Replace and the little down arrow.
Enter the word you’re seeking in both the Find what: and Replace with: fields. When your cursor is still in the Replace with: field, click Format > Highlight.
Click Replace All. Repeat this process for every word you want to find in your document. Then you can scroll through your writing and easily spot these words, and decide if you want to delete them. Doing a Find/Replace to delete these words isn’t a good option because there will be some instances when simply removing the word muddles the meaning of your sentence. Sometimes a sentence will need to be reworked.