Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tip of the Month: Dime Words

Sometimes, you have to rewrite your manuscript when you thought you’d never have to look at it again until an agent or editor got their hands on it and told you what to do. No matter how many rereads you do, sometimes you have to do one more. Sometimes even one more is not enough.

That’s why it’s great to have a critique partner (CP). You may read it so many times, you see nothing anymore. Nothing makes sense, but it all makes sense. Nothing catches your eye. You may try to change things that others have told you to change when they haven’t even seen your manuscript. Look on the internet and find how many authors list frequently used verbs, such as walk, and their replacements.

I received a good piece of advice from my CP. Use dime words, not dollar words.

Sometimes, a word doesn’t feel right, but you go ahead and use it because you’re afraid of using the same word over and over. Go with your intuition. And as Stephen King says, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is wrong.”

Remember, though, to use strong verbs and not adverbs. Walked may not always fit. If he walked easily, he may have ambled, strolled, or sauntered, for instance.

In the end, we are all different and we all like different things. I, for instance, like imagery. Not forever and ever, but I do like imagery and a character’s introspection to know what’s going on in their heads. The important thing is to intersperse these with action. Action can also be dialogue (which, if you think about it, is action, because the characters are doing something). Action is what keeps the pages turning, and that is ultimately an author's objective.

1 comment:

The Blonde Duck said...

Hooray! Dime words and action are muy bueno! :) I'm glad you feel better about your ms! I can't wait until it's published and you can autograph one for me!