One of my June goals is doing a daily challenge to (1) edit better and (2) post more blogs. I hope to do both in scrubbing my prose and reporting how I answered the challenge here every Sunday.
Challenge One: a love scene without “eyes” or “gaze”
I resolved this in my YA Contemporary novel. Fortunately I hadn’t used gaze, but sadly I did use eyes twice. I substituted face for the first eyes and a warm brush of her fingertips for the second eyes. Hey, this is making me think!
Challenge Two: without any -ing verbs.
I decided to go big on this and scrubbed the first 62 pages of Egrets, I’ve Had a Few, the sequel to my mystery novella Jack Fell Down. I wish I’d tallied the number of -ing verbs I changed, because I scored a goodly number. You tell me if you see an improvement in this example.
OLD: Huffing with exasperation in the dramatic way only sixteen-year-old girls can do well, Kirsten said, “Because you told me to.”
NEW; She huffed with exasperation in the dramatic way only sixteen-year-old girls can do well. “Because you told me to.”
Challenge Three: without “should”, “could”, and “would”
I also scrubbed the same 62 pages in Egrets, I’ve Had a Few, but only found a few times I’d misused these qualifiers. I’m hypersensitive to the -oulds.
Challenge Four: write the color “blue” without saying blue.
So in Egrets, I’ve Had a Few, I only used the word blue once. Here’s how I “fixed” it.
OLD: Blue petals scattered when she planted herself in front of me.
NEW: Periwinkle petals scattered when she planted herself in front of me.
I came up with the replacement without resorting to the Thesaurus, I’m pleased to say. Blue may be the better choice, but I’ll luxuriate in the alliteration for the moment.
Last one for this pay period …
Challenge Five: a cliffhanger
I ending Chapter Five in Egrets with the following:
Except for the traffic noise and leaves rattling on the eucalyptus trees lining the vacant lot, I heard nothing till a voice thirty feet to my left shouted “Ready for a taste of hell?”
That’s it for the first five days in June. See you next Sunday!
Till then, happy reading.