But I’m not Just another Overly Exclamatory Writer. Are You?

May 9, 2011

I took a self-editing workshop with the legendary Angela James of Carina Press. When I signed up, I wanted a way to keep my editing skills sharp since I was no longer working as an editor. As such, I went in a little smug—okay a lot smug. Heck, a former editor knows a thing or two about editing.

I learned a thing or two was about all I knew when it came to editing fiction.

First Eye Opener: The Exclamation Point

Who put those dastardly punctuation marks throughout my manuscript? Not me. Couldn’t be. Thirty-eight exclamation points in the first thirty pages.

But they were necessary. Weren’t they?

Hardly.

I deleted, and I mourned, because I knew where one amateur infraction lurked, others were sure to follow.

Second Eye Opener: Just, That, Always, Good, Great…

For crying out loud, my kids call them fillers, and yet they litter my manuscripts. The list of offending words is long enough to take me a full day of Find and Replacing every time I prepare a manuscript for submission.

I’ve learned to give myself permission to use these words without punishment in my first draft. I start cutting in the second draft, but I’m amazed at how many make their way into the final draft.

I’m hoping awareness starts cutting the occurrences.

Third Eye Opener: And, But, Well…

But I like starting sentences with conjunctions. I like it a lot. And certainly no one is saying I can never do it. But it’s not necessary to have three sentences starting with conjunctions in a four-sentence paragraph.

I’ve learned a lot about writing fiction. Despite the improvements, I’m amazed at how much I still don’t know, but I refuse to let ignorance get me down. When I feel frustrated, I remind myself there’s work to do. As long as I have work to do, I know my journey goes one. I haven’t hit the end without success, because I’m still working, learning and striving.

If you’re working too, I commend you. It’s a long, lonely “job” in many cases. On those days when you think you’ve had enough, know that I feel your pain and I want you to keep going. We can learn from each other.

Elley

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2 Responses to “But I’m not Just another Overly Exclamatory Writer. Are You?”

  1. taristhread Says:

    Ouch! I’m in big trouble. (Did I just start with an exclamation point?) And I like starting sentences with conjunctions as well. Ah, well, I might need to take some of these classes you’ve been taking…. Great post.


  2. […] exclamation point, as Charlene mentioned when speaking about description and dialogue (and Elley has mentioned before) have become two, of many, issues that I am on a quest to […]

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