Hey, all, it’s Monday, or, uh, Tuesday. Anyway, here’s the week that was.
Words to Write By
Another quote from Mr. King. This one comes from his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
There are lots of opinions on adverbs in writerly circles, but let’s see what else Stephen King says on this subject in his book.
“With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.”
This is what I focus on when I look for adverbs in my own work. It’s less the adverb itself and more the adverb leading to weak, unsure sentences. Whenever I find one, I ask myself two questions. 1) Am I using the adverb only because I’m afraid the reader won’t understand what I’m trying to say without it? 2) Is there a more precise verb I could use instead of verb + adverb? The answers to those questions may (and often does) lead to adverb removal and/or a revised sentence.
The prime adverb offenders in my work fall into three main categories:
- Useless -ly adverbs like certainly, truly, obviously, simply, and likely (plus a few others). These words rarely add value or nuance to the sentence.
- Positional words like back, behind, down, and over. Like the aforementioned -ly adverbs, I often don’t need these either.
- Hedging, imprecise words like almost, nearly, around, and often. I do keep some of these because they’re often useful (especially in dialog), but I overuse them.
Well, the first read through and revisions are done, and I sent the manuscript off to one of my critique partners. It’s as good as I can get it right now because I’ve gone story blind. I’ve reached that point where I can’t decide what’s good and what’s not, and that’s when it’s time to get eyeballs other than your own on the work. I’m gonna take a break from Late Risers for a bit and focus on short stories and the next novel
I finished one short story last week, which I’ll sub to the The Molotov Cocktail’s FlashBeast contest.
A big fat goose egg for submissions last week.
- Submissions Sent: 0
- Rejections: 0
- Acceptances: 0
- Publications: 0
- Shortlist: 2
With the push to get the novel finished and ready for my critique partners, I didn’t send any submissions. I did, however, get two shortlist letters from markets I’ve been trying to crack for a long time. I hope to hear good news on one of those soon.
Despite a slow month for submissions, I’m still at 77 for the year. Which means I need another 23 submissions over the next five months to hit my goal of 100. That should be a cinch.
Two blog posts last week.
The usual weekly writing update.
Last week, I published another story with The Arcanist. This blog post features all the stories I’ve published with that market to date.
With the novel out to my critique partners, I want to turn my attention to short stories and get more submissions out. I’ve got stories that need quick revisions and then can go out again, so I’ll likely focus on those first. I’d also like to evaluate where I’m at with the next novel I want to write. I started it last year, got about 30,000 words into it, and then set it aside for Late Risers. Time to go back and assess what I’ve got with fresh eyes.
As I mentioned above, I published another story with The Arcanist last week. It’s called “Do Me a Favor” and you can check it out by clicking the link or the picture below.
That was my week. How was yours?