Tag Archives: first draft

That’s No Moon. It’s Excessive Adjectives.

The best part of writing is describing story people and their world. They talk to me and I write down their words: the breezes cool the sweat from my face, garments are satin against my skin, and frying griddle cakes slow me when I walk by their favorite breakfast spots.  To bare all in this blog, I now admit…brace yourself…I enjoy reading (and writing) delicious adjectives. Just don’t give me too many at once.  Let’s look at some examples:

Bad: She was a blond flirt and a clear-skinned, blue-eyed, girl-next-door, wholesome beauty.  Better: The astronaut removed the mirrored helmet, tossed her head to clear blond bangs from a flawless face, and flashed baby-blues.

Bad: The Death Star was huge, gray, lurking, evil, and dimpled like a moon.  Better: Laser cannons dimpled the space station’s drab surface.  Luke mistook the monstrosity for a small moon.

Bad: Doctor McCoy’s response was full of illogical, long-winded, whiny, and judgmental scolding. Better: McCoy let loose an emotive scolding.  Spock arched an eyebrow.

Strings of adjectives dilute the description.  I also put too many adjectives in my own first drafts. When I clean up, I use the best one and cut the rest. Sometimes a strong verb hides as an adjective (see dimpled in the second example). See my earlier post about adverbs for more about the advantages of using strong verbs.

Beware of excessive, pesky, tenacious, scruffy-looking, and stinky adjectives. (See? take ‘em out…)

A-Editing We Will Go

I’ve edited Wrath yesterday and today.

In general, my drafts suffer from two problems: too loquacious (today’s word for the day from my grammar calendar), and misbehaving commas.  I’m investigating proof/edit apps to help me slay my grammatical two-headed dragon.  Two editing programs caught my eye, and I’ve downloaded the demos from their websites to try them out:

Plenty of other reviewers have posted their discoveries on these apps (you might want to check Google to find and read the reviews yourself).

Are you using any proof/edit apps for your fiction that’s worth a look?  If so, please let us know what you recommend.