ATVYou’ve had this happen, right? By the time you finally get around the seeing the movie that everyone has told you that you have absolutely got to see, you wonder what all the fuss was about. Or, a friend talks you into doing something you do not particularly think you will enjoy, and it’s way more fun than you expected. For me, this describes “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and my first time on an all terrain vehicle, respectively. Not that good and actually rather fun.

It also describes my recent attempts to edit my first and second novels, irrespectively. I was proud of x0 when I wrote it and frankly anyone who ever finishes writing a whole entire book ought to be very proud. After I finished my second book, however, I got used to people telling me how much better it was than the first. Really? How bad was the first?

I charged ahead into the third book and the fourth one and although I liked hearing about how my writing kept improving, it also nagged at me. Finally I decided to give x0 a little clean up. Maybe I could just take out a hated adverb here and an unnecessary conjunction there and it would still be the same book, but a tad better. So I did and it helped. While I was doing it, though, I kept thinking, this isn’t so bad. It’s way better written than I expected.

from y1Naturally, it seemed like a good idea to go ahead and do y1 as well. I figured it ought to be an easy process, because it was so much better to begin with, right?

It must have been good for me to find out otherwise. I wrote that sentence? Not that the book is bad. It isn’t. It may have the best plot I have come up with yet. The problem is that as I gained confidence in my story telling abilities, my sentences seem to have become longer and more convoluted. A snip snip here and a snip snip there made a world of difference. I finished the process last week, and the fun story hasn’t changed but some of the more difficult to digest pieces of it have become bite sized. There is more punctuation. It is better now.

I did find a few gems in it that I had forgotten about and enjoyed discovering. The narrator in y1 has a bit more of a tendency to wax eloquent, and this can be both good and bad. It isn’t surprising, however. The real life people whom I admire are full of great quotes, so I should have seen that one coming.

(Read about x0 getting a makeover here. For a limited time the new x0 is available on kindle for only 99 cents and the new y1 is only 99 cents too!)



What’s wrong with adverbs?

stopI recognize the need to have some sort of regulations that keep us from hurting each other. Stop signs.  A nuisance but okay, the basic idea behind them does make sense. And unlike many of my fellow Texans, I even get the idea behind letting the greater collective regulate what kinds of deadly weapons I am entitled to own and which ones if any I get to carry on my person. Got it.  We have to have some rules.

I have more of a problem with those who try to regulate my behavior for my own protection.  Seat belts? Barely a grey area if you ask me …..  Buying milk that hasn’t been pasteurized? Come on, that’s totally my choice.

And when folks step in to try to modify my behavior to suit their sense of style? Well, in my opinion they have clearly crossed a line. I respond angrily. Defiantly. Perhaps unreasonably. In fact, a few dozen more choice adverbs come readily to mind.

This is because adverbs themselves have recently come under the disdain of the fashion police of the writing world. “They have fallen out of favor” advises one author’s website. In other words, don’t use them. Says who? Admittedly, overuse of any type of word makes ones writing repetitious and repetitive 🙂 but why does an entire class of descriptive words get banished in order to suit some group’s whim?

I can’t run quickly in the rain? Talk loudly in the library? Scream vigorously when I am frustrated?

wiineThis reminds me of whoever decreed that there should be no white shoes after labor day, no colored corduroy pants on adults and no red wine drunk with fish. Who makes up this crap? And why do we have such a tendency as a species to comply with arbitrary rules that involve neither safety nor courtesy?

Don’t walk under a ladder. Don’t step on a crack. And certainly don’t step fretfully on a crack, or walk under that ladder while giggling hysterically.

This is ridiculous. Labor day has come and gone and I’m going out for lunch tomorrow. I’m wearing white sandals, red corduroy pants, and I’m drinking a nice pinot noir with my fish. And I’m going to do it all joyfully.