I cannot take credit for that title. It is a bit of wisdom from a fellow English teacher — Stephen King.
He speaks truth.
One of the hardest things about writing is learning to write better. As it turns out, adverbs are dangerous outside of dialogue because they slow readers down and turn beautiful meadows of text into swampy slogfests that require drudgery instead of frolicking.
I choose frolicking … I want the meadow … therefore, my writing style has to change.
And that, as they say, is the rub.
Can an old dog learn new tricks?
This is a vital part of edits. I don’t want to be content with fixing … I want to fix and learn so that there will be less fixing required in my future.
The problem with fixing and editing is you wonder about what you are throwing away. Is the baby being tossed out with the bathwater?
Think of Stephen King’s Carrie … the book that almost didn’t happen.
He was a high school English teacher struggling to achieve his dream of writing. He was not satisfied with Carrie and threw the manuscript into the trash. His wife found it and saved it. If not for her, that book never would have seen the light of day.
Carrie is the novel that was picked up by DoubleDay and became King’s first published novel.
Hopefully, in about a month, I will be soliciting the help of some beta readers.
Their task will be to help me spot continuity errors, typos, etc. As a teacher, I am going to tap a few colleagues, but mainly former students for that role. They should get quite a kick out of grading their teacher.
As I set to fixing adverbs, plot holes, and the overall timeline, I don’t want to get so wrapped up in fixing it that the book loses its soul.
So be on the lookout … your chance to get an early sneak peak at Chasing Ghosts may be sooner than you think.