Saturday, March 03, 2007

Moving on

In other news … I might be writing parts of THE PROTECTOR sequel in a bathroom again. It looks like we won't be staying in Hawaii past this summer. In fact, it looks like we could be making a trans-Pacific + trans-Atlantic move (that is, move to Europe).

As I always say, I'll know when and where we're going once I move into my new house. Nothing is guaranteed, nothing is certain. Well, change is certain in this case :-)

My parents, grandparents and the rest of my relatives would be ecstatic if we moved to Germany (where I was born and raised).

I wouldn't mind moving to Colorado.

My husband doesn't want to go to NC. Or NY or TX.

The kids don't care as long as they get a dog/cat/horse/bunny rabbit or guinea pig when they get there.

I wonder if the Army knows we're supposed to leave this summer …

Writing tip 2: Adverbs

Adverbs are not your friends. They water down your writing. When- or where-adverbs (e.g. “yesterday” or “here”) are okay. How-adverbs (e.g. “slowly” or “fast”) are the troublemakers. Do you really need them? Isn’t there a better verb you could use instead?

Consider this:

… he mumbled hoarsely … try … he croaked …
… she drove slowly … try … she inched through traffic …
… he said aggressively … try … he ordered …

I used to like adverbs. They were everywhere. I put effort into finding the right ones. My first drafts were peppered with them. I can’t remember what made me suddenly see them or why I grew wise to their existence, but now I agonize over stronger verbs instead. Think of them as the fat or sugar in your writing diet; use them in moderation and you’ll be fine.

Bonus tip: If you have trouble paring down your writing, take a good look at your adverbs. Chances are, you can delete most of them.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Yay, I'm done!

It only took a few months, but I’m done with the rewrite of THE PROTECTOR. Whew. I started writing it way back when in late 2003/early 2004. I took me a little more than a year to finish the first draft. Parts of it were written on a toilet seat. I kid you not.

We had just returned from Okinawa, Japan, to the US. The four of us were crammed into two small adjoining Army lodging rooms (think motel), living out of our suitcases. I wrote at night. There wasn’t really a lot of room and I didn’t want to disturb anyone, so I would go into the bathroom, sit on the floor, put my pad on the toilet seat and write.

I didn’t do much with the story in 2005. After realizing it was too short (59,000 words) in early 2006, I went about adding to it. I ended up with 62,000 words and 52 chapters.

As of yesterday, THE PROTECTOR is down to 36 chapters and 55,000 words. I don’t like the low word count, but I do love how the story has changed and grown and worked itself out. I am very proud of it.

If you know how this writing business works, you know I might be done, but I’m not finished with it yet. There’s the line edit still, the checking for typos, grammar, syntax, punctuation, awkward phrasing, lazy writing and the such.

So I’m not finished, but I’m done :-) and it feels great.

PS. I think I have found a title for the sequel. I liked THE GHOST CRAB for its meaning, but it’s a horribly boring title, and how many people know what a ghost crab is? I might go with THE STALKER instead.