Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thirty Word Thursday x 2

Sometimes language gets in the way of the story's feelings. The reader finds himself experiencing the language of the story rather than the story. "A man goes into a phone booth, stirring coins in his palm." "Stirring" is such an obviously selected word. You can feel the writer looking for the word as he sat at the typewriter. 

— Leonard Michaels 


Do you find yourself doing this in your own writing? I know we all sit and search for the exact right word, but have you ever had an experience, whether with your own work or someone else's where you've read a line, and instead of it having a powerful impact, you think "okay, I (or that writer) am/is trying too hard"?

And how are all my NaNo peeps doing? For those not doing NaNo, how are your other projects or just life in general going?

I have actually surprised myself - I'm doing much better than I expected LOL

12 comments:

Scott said...

Life is good right now. In edit phase, wrote the rough of the query, and working on the logline for a project I hope to query next spring! Woo-hoo!

Eric said...

Actually, I was about to put up a post about exactly that. Looks like you're doing good on NaNo though. Keep it up :)

Melissa said...

You're doing a great job with NaNo so far! Keep up the good work girl!

I hope my writing isn't like this! I try not to use a thesaurus or anything and go with my natural choices. We'll see when I start editing.

Katrina L. Lantz said...

Hee hee. I totally see that in my own writing! Nice to know I'm not the only one who does it. And it's nice to know I have CPs who will help me edit stuff like that out.

There seems to be a fine line between powerful-unique and awkward-unique. Hard to find by myself.

You are rockin' Nano, my friend! So proud of you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Honestly, yes!
And not doing NaNo this year. Too many commitments this month.

Colene Murphy said...

Oh yes. Yes indeed.
Great progress so far too btw!

Patti said...

Interesting post on word choice. You have to remain true to character and the tone of the novel.

Good luck on Nano. I'm NaNoEd this month.

Amparo Ortiz said...

OMG, my first manuscript is full of this type of word choice. It definitely looked like I was trying too hard. Not. Good.

Best of luck to all my NaNo peeps out there!! Including YOU, Michelle!!

Jan Markley said...

Sometimes I have to try hard not to over use a verb. Word choice has to work for the piece. Thanks for the quote!

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

This post really resonates with me Michelle. Mainly because I recently had a similar conversation with my son about trying too hard.

Following a critique of the first three chapters, of the first draft of my WIP, I was told my writing was polished to the point it lacked emotion. After I slinked away and licked my wounds for a few days, I outlined my second draft. Then, began writing the first chapter.

When my seventeen year old read it, he said, "The first part isn't hooky enough and your trying too hard. Just write it like all the other stuff you've done. Don't try to please others, because someone will always dislike your work."

Wise advice from someone so young. Needless to say, I scrapped the chapter and wrote it again. This time I approached the piece in my own way and I think it's the best one yet. Writing for eloquence is over rated.

Stephanie McGee said...

I usually just put whatever word comes to mind at the time. Then maybe I'll change it later. I haven't really gotten through much revision on any project. Still looking for feedback from my beta on the last novel.

Love your word count gadget. Way to make that potato work! LOL

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great progress with NaNo!

I know what you mean about trying too hard. I feel that way every other day. The days in between, I feel like I'm not trying hard enough. Can't win!