The above is one of the most quoted "rules" Stephen King identified in his book on the craft, On Writing. From my experience in writers' forums, it also seems to be the most misunderstood. Nary as month goes by without someone typing "... but I checked [insert random famous title here] and they use many adverbs!" In most cases, I suspect the problem is those asking haven't read Mr King's book, and many desire to take such rules as literal absolutes. The complaint is so frequent I decided to write a blog post on it, rather than keep typing the same answers ad nauseam.
Remember: this is my opinion and interpretation. If you see it differently, I'd be happy to chat about it in the comments or on my FB page. (more…)
A common technique, at least in science-fiction and fantasy, is to include the inner thoughts of the Point Of View (POV) character. Often this is done by including the thoughts in italics without any attribution. I'm a fan of this technique, and use it in my writing. Done well, it can add flavour to a passage and deepen the immersion for the reader. One of my favourite authors, Ilona Andrews,1 is superb at this. Take the following passage from Magic Slays: (more…)
I've been engaged with a group of writers fairly actively lately exchanging critiques. It has been a thoroughly rewarding process, allowing me to hone my own craft whilst helping others. I find critiquing someone else's work much easier than my own, as I have distance and can examine it in more detail. Along the way, I learn more about what I think works vs. what doesn't, and my own writing also improves.
As part of this process, I find there are a number of pieces of advice that I provide regularly. Some are things I have learned through experimentation, some from an earlier age when I was still in school. Most, however, have come from other writers, and from helpful blog posts and articles.
I've decided to summarise my process and advice for editing your own work here. I'll try to reference out as much as possible to the source of any rules I include.
I plan to return to this post regularly and update it as my toolbox updates.
Note: This is focused on copy editing. It is also not to suggest I feel my work doesn't need professional editing afterwards. This is the editing I do before I let anyone else look at my writing (including editors). (more…)