Literally. I will admit that I cried once. Then I opened the cracking document and fixed whatever she wanted me to fix.
Anyway, so this time around, I sent her a book. I hadn't had one other person read it. Not one. I didn't have time for beta reads or anything. So basically it had my sucktacular attempts to get it right and I sent it to my agent.
She emails to say she thinks I need to do another pass before we submit (no surprise there--did I mention NO ONE else had read it?), and she'll have notes for me soon. I want to eat half my body weight in sour patch kids, because until that doc lands in my email, I'm a nervous wreck. Will I cry again? Did I ruin the story? How bad does this book that NO ONE else read stink?
And soon? What the heck? Soon can't be soon enough. (I've also learned that "soon" could mean "later today" or "next week.")
So I work on other stuff and try to maintain my diet so that when the email comes, I'm ready.
So it comes. I purposefully don't open it until I've eaten and have my pajamas on. (Because everything is better in pj's, right?)
So I open the document...
And surely she's jesting. This is nothing! Some line edits. LINE EDITS. Maybe 3 comments, and the things she's suggesting in said comments are easy to fix.
It can't be true. I finish the line edits in a single night. I go to bed thinking that I'll get the real email with the real document in the morning.
It doesn't come.
Can it be? Maybe I don't suck as much as I thought. Or hey, maybe I've learned how to write better.
Maybe. Both of those are doubtful, but I did want to share one tip today that I learned from doing these line edits.
You can convey something in a more powerful manner with less words. Some examples from the book I turned in.
What I had: "It seemed to fit well enough, and when she gave it a gentle squeeze, I couldn’t even remember my own name."
Edited to: "It fit just right, and when she gave it a gentle squeeze, I couldn’t even remember my own name."
What I had: "The emotions coming from him couldn’t settle into one specific thing. Love, anger, desperation, more anger, confusion."
Edited to: "His emotions couldn’t settle into any one thing."
What I had: "And she obviously hadn’t slept much over the last few weeks."
Edited to: "And she obviously hadn’t been sleeping much." (I know this seems little, but the "over the last few weeks" is totally unnecessary. It's the little things that make your writing better, you know?)
Things I use a lot that aren't necessary:
- for a moment
- many times before
- or something (hey, I'm a conversational writer, what can I say?)
- I didn't answer. (No duh. If there's no dialog, he didn't speak. I do this ALL THE TIME in some form. "without another word" "I waited, silent." Or something. Ha! But dude, it doesn't need to be expressly said that the MC isn't talking, because if they were there'd be dialog!)
- totally (don't judge me)
Some words are unnecessary. Good writers use only the words they need, and nothing more. I highly suggest you razor those words out of your MS on one of your revision passes.
What do you think? What are some of your unnecessary catch phrases? Can you use less words and achieve more power?