Monday, February 2, 2009

Craft: Enough Said

Have you ever read a book that you wanted to read but had an annoying "tick"?

I just finished a book that did. While the plot line was intriguing and kept me guessing, and the characters were fun to listen to [you all know I 'read' most of my books on tape, right?] there was an annoying habit the author had that made me insane!!

"I'm cold." I said.
"Turn on the heat." He said.
"I can't reach it." I said.
"It is right behind you." He said.
"Oh, there it is." I said.
"I told you." He said.
"You were right." I said.

AHHHH, I screamed at my tape player "ENOUGH SAID!!"

I really try to learn something from everything I read-no matter what. From this book I learned that we always need to take the time to listen to our stories. There are text-to-speech software options. They help you recognize stilted dialog and annoying words [like 'said'] that show up constantly.

I started to wonder if this author was trying to hit word count or something and padded their manuscript with the word "said".

There was another book I 'read' last spring that had the word 'Sardonic' so much that my HUSBAND actually started to hate it...and he didn't hear the whole book [but he did get to hear my rants about the thing.]

Both of these authors have sold more than two dozen titles. Both have climbed [and stayed on] the best sellers lists.

The reason they did was because they made an incredible story with compelling characters and an engaging plot. Make sure that you are doing that too.

And try to avoid the pet phrases....

Enough said.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

1 comment:

Ginger B. Collins said...

This is such a good suggestion. Thanks for the reminder. I just finished my first novel and knew in my bones I had used the word "whisper" way too much. I went back through the entire manuscript and used the "Find & Refine" method to target each use. Then I selected another word to do the job. It resulted in lots less "whispers" and much richer prose.