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Gail Goetz
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Gail Goetz

Janice, I’d never been told that the word “when” is telling. Thanks for posting that. I use it too often and will correct that flaw in my writing. I appreciate that tip.. Best of luck with your new book.
Gail

Janice Hardy
Guest
Janice Hardy

It isn’t *always,* but it is one of those words that hangs out with telling way too much. It’s a good red flag to look for if you get comments that your prose feels told or passive.

Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Guest

Thanks for explaining about the word “as,” which I tend to use a lot in my writing. Will share this with my critique group. Great discussion on action/reaction of characters. Thanks.

Marty
Guest
Marty

Janice, It’s exciting to think of the power in our hands to direct the worlds we create. I absolutely love to read common sense suggestions and reminders that help me get better and make the art of writing a doable thing. Do I successfully communicate with language the images and feelings I am wanting to convey? The exercise you suggest is a good one. I think reading them aloud helps too. The neat thing is the forgiveability of our drafts. I do my best, try not to overwork that particular scene, and move on. I can go back and back… Read more »

Jaleh D
Guest

Great advice for me to remember when I get done with my current draft.

Janice Hardy
Guest
Janice Hardy

Thanks! There are so many little tiny things we can look for that help up spot common problem areas. When I realized they existed, I started paying attention and keeping track.

Kathy Duval
Guest

Janice, I love how you so clearly illustrated your points. This information will be very helpful for revising. Thanks!

Lynne
Guest

What great ideas! A lot of the revisions I had to do for my first manuscript were about the character’s feelings– in so many scenes, I didn’t show nearly enough about what the main character was thinking or feeling about what was happening. I think I was afraid it would slow down the action too much, so it was hard to get used to putting it all in there. It does make the story better, though; the readers have to connect with the character, and they’ll do that a lot better if they know how he feels. If we’re writing… Read more »

varsha bajaj
Guest
varsha bajaj

Janice,
Thanks for all the great ideas. Finding the balance between action and introspective thoughts is always a challenge.

Candace
Guest
Candace

Great points thanks! Would you be willing to specify a few more “telling” words? You’ve already mentioned as and when, and I’m sure they’re many more. I know that they aren’t telling words all the time, but it would be really helpful to know what they are and be on the lookout. Thanks!

Susan
Guest

Great advice! Showing instead of telling always makes your story so much stronger:-)

God Bless,
Susan

Janice Hardy
Guest
Janice Hardy

Thanks so much for having me over, Vonna. And thanks to all the commenters! Let’s see, more telling words… “To” is a good one, as in “Bob headed into the kitchen to look for Jane.” To often tells motive instead of showing the action. “Bob went into the kitchen and looked around. Jane was gone.” Adverbs are often red flags that you’re telling *how* someone does something. “He walked slowly” instead of “He crept.” I’ve found adverbs to be placeholder words. It’s like your brain is telling you that’s a spot you could do more with. You could just cut… Read more »

Anna Staniszewski
Guest

I love this kind of technical breakdown of what makes writing work! We often take those little things for granted, but they can be SO important. Thanks for the insight, Janice!

Nancy Kay Bowden
Guest
Nancy Kay Bowden

Great post, Janice! Thank you for the useful advice and list of things to remember.

Janice Hardy
Guest
Janice Hardy

Most welcome. I’ve discovered it’s the little things that make the biggest difference 🙂 Probably because we *don’t* pay as much attention to them as we should.