Get Out that Broom (or a Shop Vac) to Tidy Up Your Writing

Vac O MaticThis week on YA Highway, Road Trip Wednesday asks, What do you hope to “clean out” from your writing? What habits/tropes/words, etc do you want to eliminate?

Before I even clean anything out of my writing, I’d like to clean up my act regards my Internet obsession. My e-mail checking, tweet reading, Facebook status browsing, YahooGroups message scanning, time-wasting habits. Some of what I do on the Internet is legitimate (I’m really working hard to make my social networking become a better marketing tool), but when it’s a political blog I’m clicking over to, or Google news I’m poring over, or an irresistible cat video I’m watching, my writing train has gone off its tracks.

Assuming I continue to battle that time-wasting impulse, there are a few things I’d like to sweep away in my writing. Sometimes I struggle with pacing. I can write a pretty exciting scene, but then I worry when the one after it maybe drags on a bit more than I’d like it to. I’m lucky to have fab editors to clean that up, but I need to focus more on pacing even before my editor gets to it. So get out the Dust-Buster for those draggy scenes.

Awakening Final cover-s

Aren’t those a great pair of eyes on the cover of Awakening though?

Next, I’m weird about eyes, and all the things they do. Glance, glimpse, stare, glare, look, and plain old see. I use eye action a little too much sometimes. I’d like to get out the shop vac for that.

I am thoroughly in love with ellipses…and em dashes– Often on the ends of sentences…when it often doesn’t need to be used–when it might work better just to break up the sentences into multiple ones where I’ve inserted the ellipse or em dash. Sweep those little buggers out the door (or, rather, the manuscript).

I still have a bad habit of too much throat clearing at times (taking too long to get to the point). This kind of goes along with pacing, but it’s often at the start of the book, or maybe even the start of a chapter. It’s as if I’m having to hack up all those words to get a sense of where I’m going. It’s later when I realize (or someone points out), Oh, I don’t need all this info dump in here. Get out the blower and whoosh it away.

There’s probably a few more odds and ends of writer’s spring cleaning that I could do, but this is all that comes to mind at the moment. I have to say, I am so grateful for 2nd drafts (and 3rd, 4th, etc), and other pairs of eyes on my manuscripts.

Especially when those eyes are glancing, glimpsing, staring, looking, and plain old seeing what needs to be fixed.

About karensandler

Lover of chocolate. A couple felines short of full-fledged Cat Lady. Author of the YA Tankborn Trilogy (TANKBORN, AWAKENING, and REBELLION), from Tu Books. Founding team member of We Need Diverse Books. Opinions expressed here are my own.
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6 Responses to Get Out that Broom (or a Shop Vac) to Tidy Up Your Writing

  1. Diana Stevan says:

    Nicely done. I, too, have a thing about eyes in my writing. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. And I’m also so conscious about time too. Wish I had a social hub for all my social sites so I can have it all in one place.

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