Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Favourite Words #3 - Vicariously

Yes, I know it's an adverb. Yup, I know those are bad news. Writers ain't supposed to use them, like, ever. But it does describe one of my aims in reading, writing and publishing. "Living vicariously" is what we do when we enter into an experience not our own. That's what I want to do when I read a book; that's what I want my readers to do. Many people are unable to travel far, and a well-written book can open up entirely new experiences even for those who have seen a lot of the world. Windows to new places, unfamiliar lifestyles, cultures, characters - all of this can have an amazing influence on the life of the beholder.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Favourite Words #2 - High-falutin'

Fancy, snobbish, expensive, refined. Normally used in a derogatory or sarcastic sense. It's a rather American term, perhaps from the South? I'm not sure. I know I always like it when I come across it, as it serves to pinpoint the character who uses it and their attitude. Usually the speaker is a good-humoured, down-to-earth person.

Fact: In New Zealand we would say "poncy" (pronounced pon-see) which is derived from Ponsonby, a coastal suburb in central Auckland, nationally known for its upmarket character and slightly snobbish inhabitants. Apologies to anyone who happens to live there - I have never been able to verify these traits, but that's how we use the word.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Favourite Words #1

I have seen a lot of lists circulating around the Web - lists of beautiful, or funny, or plain incredible words. But I've yet to see a list that matched even a fraction of my own favourite words so I thought I'd start compiling a collection of my own. Here's a start:

Aggressive, warlike, argumentative, ready to fight. From Latin "bello" = war. Unfortunately this word is so darn descriptive that it breaks all the writing rules of show-don't-tell by its very existence. But I'll try and get it into a dialogue someday, just you wait.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Final Draft

Well, so much for weekly posting. If I'd kept a running diary of my last couple of months of activity on The Muse, it would have looked something like this:

Week 1: Editing.
Week 2: Editing.
Week 3: Family Crisis.
Week 4: Work Crisis.
...and repeat. Not terribly interesting.

That's not to say the time hasn't been productive. I fixed a lot of annoying little problems, and with the help of my reviewers, identified areas of ambiguity in the story line, inconsistencies in some of the characters, and a couple of spots that didn't do much more than slow the story's pace and needed to be cut down and tightened up.

My biggest fear at this point was running into something that was so screwed up that I would have to do a major rewrite. Fortunately, that didn't happen. There was some clunky dialogue, and a few scenes that weren't focused well enough, and a little-girl character who needed to do a better job of acting her age, but nothing that required extensive meddling with the structure of the story. So, after all the dust has settled, I've got something close to a final draft of the manuscript, though I know we'll be tweaking it all the way to publication.

Now it's back over to Grace, and I'm sure she'll identify some opportunities to tighten up and polish the story even more. In her early feedback, she had some recommendations about strengthening the spiritual element within the story and handling the climactic scene near the end, and I hope I've answered the mail on both those issues.