Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Time to Cut the Fat

This weekend, I signed up for a weight loss group especially for mom writers. I'm still carrying some extra weight from son #1 plus I was 10 pounds heavier than I would like to have been before I became pregnant with him. So roughly 25 pounds. I'm hoping the encouragement of the group will provide enough motivation that I can make the numbers on the scale inch downward.

In between exercise and not snacking, I'm working hard on Champion of Valor, finishing it up and editing it. So I not only want to cut the fat from my diet, but also from my manuscript.

Repetitive words, phrases, sayings.... gone.

Abuse of adverbs... deleted.

Passive voice... made active.

Long descriptions... tightened and pruned.

Adjectives... pared down.

I'm cutting the fat from my MS. When you edit your stories, what do you keep an eye out for?


Stina Lindenblatt said...

Cutting fat from my ms is a lot easier than from me. My ms doesn't have a chocolate addiction. ;)

Charity Bradford said...

First, weight loss specifically for mom writers? Can I sign up too?

Second, I look for the same things you do, starting with passive voice. My first drafts are lazy with it.

excess adjectives and adverbs

unnatural dialogue

showing instead of telling where ever possible

and finally, connecting the reader through as many senses as possible

N. R. Williams said...

Good luck with your weight loss. Last year I joined weight watchers. I love it because I don't have to count calories. They have a point system. Easy to use. I lost 31 pounds from March through Dec. I hope to lose another 30 pounds this year. One trick is to order grilled chicken when you eat a fast food chains.

Your list of edit things is great too!
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Christine Fonseca said...

DUDE! I so want a WL group for writerly moms!!!

Melissa Gill said...

I hear you on the weight loss. I struggle with this every day of my life. Being a writer just makes it worse. All that butt-in-chair adds to the spread. I've taken to standing at the breakfast bar with my laptop while I write/revise. But most of the time I'm at work, sitting!

Faith said...

That's a good list of things to edit for! As frustrating as it can be sometimes, I actually like when I've written over the word limit for a short story submission, for example, because it forces me to get rid of ANYTHING extra and make the story really, really, really tight. Of course it's another story entirely for novels, because there isn't a strict word limit, so I find it harder to make the cuts.

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck with both!

I look for adverbs, unnecessary words, cliches, and things like that when I edit. Sometimes it's just a little tightening here and there that can really make a story pop.

Colene Murphy said...

Good luck on your weight loss goals! And with your MS!!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm guilty of a little bit of all the things you listed and I also have to get rid of dumb dialogue tags.

Talli Roland said...

Good luck with the weight loss! I have a terrible tendency to overuse phrases. Ugh!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I look for repetition, adjectives, and a complete lack of description. Yes, while most people write 100,000 words piece that needs slimming I write a 60,000 words piece that needs more than the basic shell.

Stephanie said...

I usually have to add fat to my MS! LOL!! I always have to go in and add internal thoughts of the characters and show instead of tell.

Stephanie said...

Good luck on your weight loss goals!!! How cool to have found other writers to do that with!

Aubrie said...

Good New Year's resolutions!

My manuscripts need more fat. I start with rough outlines and then fill them in.

As for me: I don't need any extra fat! hehe

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) Are you going to write a ghost story, too?

Nicole Zoltack said...

I think I will, Aubrie. There's more than enough time to write one after Champion of Valor is finished. I've always wanted to write a gothic story - here's my chance to write a gothic short story!