For those of us who “don’t” know it all…

Ernest Hemingway's house- Key West, FL

"Not" our mountainside chalet...but wouldn't it be cool if...

Whenever I think it is time to make room on the mantle for next year’s Pulitzer, I put down the Murphy’s Oil Soap and take a break to read about other writers and their quest for fluidity, proper structure, and  the illusive “hook.” I learned a long time ago that two people could produce the same work, yet one will be of the highest quality and the other…well, not. And while I like my own writing, and some of you do, also (for which I am grateful,) I never tire of learning from others.

Background: I have a great novel. It’s not written yet. Every time I write another chapter, I learn something new about writing that makes me go back and re-edit. It started with learning about dialogue.  R. Andrew Wilson’s book, write like Hemingway, (http://www.amazon.com/Write-Like-Hemingway-Writing-Lessons/dp/1598698966) is a great resource that I still consult from time to time.

This week, while enjoying the peace and quiet of the Shenandoah Mountains, I finished chapter 4 of the next great American novel. I should now move on to chapter 5; after all, Shelby Pickett, P.I. now has two murders on her hands.

Yet…again…I took time to consider other writers.

Today, it’s all about adverbs and how not to use them. By doing a tag search (writing,) I have just “met” Jennifer McFadden, and have already decided that I will be stopping by her blog often. What she said makes great sense, yet until I heard it, I had not thought about using it in my own writing.

Check out http://jenniferemcfadden.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/dropping-the-adverbs/ for more info.  Good stuff for those of us with no formal education in writing.

So, before Shelby can solve the mystery, I will be scouring my manuscript for words ending in “ly.” I guess the old adage has been proven correct once again: If writing well was easy, everyone would have a best seller.

Someday. But first, to re-edit chapters 1 – 4.  Next weekend: Chapter 5.  (and that’s why they all say…it’s a work in progress!)

Thanks for reading, and for those afflicted: keep on writing!

-D.J.

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8 thoughts on “For those of us who “don’t” know it all…

  1. Writing, and learning as we write, is a full time occupation! I will go and read her blog as I need to learn more about adverbs as well. And, don’t forget about the use of THAT…although, you probably already know. Good luck with the chapters. I’m excited for you.

    • Funny you should mention that… Years ago, I did not have a great scholastic record when it came to writing so I am using the learn-from-your-mistakes method of writing improvement. I Googled “that” to see about its use in grammar and now have another reason to go back and re-edit. No worries, though. Eventually, the manuscript will fly through the editors desk without much red ink! I’ll take any and all suggestions. Keep ’em coming!

      • I’m with you and learning as I go. The only reason I even know about ‘that’ is because my tutor called me out on my use of it. A couple of weeks or so ago, I wrote a short post about ‘that’ and what he said about it if you want to read it. Adverbs and better adjective choices are next on my list to get right. 🙂 Why can’t we just write and be done with it? (did you notice two glaring mistakes in that sentence? ha ha)

  2. Hi D. J.,

    I’m so happy you found my blog! Thanks for the mention and recommendation, I appreciate it 🙂

    Your novel sounds intriguing; I love mysteries. I’ve been writing my mystery/ghost novel for 1 1/2 years, and still learn a lot about writing and then edit my chapters. I have lost track of how many ‘extra’ notes I have in various word documents.

    • Hi Jennifer – Thanks for stopping by my blog. This one (I have 2) is where I usually post a short story on Fridays to break the tedium of rewriting the novel. I tend to write like I speak, so I always enjoy reading and learning about others’ experiences, hoping to make improvements where I can.

    • Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I agree entirely, seeing that my edits have taken on a life of their own…

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