editing, editing advice, National Novel Writing Month, Overused Words, Strong vs Weak Words, Strong Words, Weak Words, writers, writing
You pleaded. You begged. You sent me your firstborn child.
I promised. I swore. I vowed I would do it.
And . . . I have done it at last! What have I done, you ask? I put the Strong vs Weak Word posts in one easy-to-find place on my blog. No longer do you need to slog through some 180+ posts to find my words of wisdom. Er . . . my words of editing advice. Ahem . . . I mean my nagging about using strong words when possible.
If I may direct your attention to the left, you will gaze upon a link in the sidebar with the clever title, “Strong vs Weak Words.” Boy, do I know how to turn a phrase or what? Click on that puppy and you will have hours of pleasure reading ahead of you.
My motivation for getting to this project at long last was the blog posts from folks as they wrap up their NaNoWriMo challenge. They are now staring into the abyss of editing those 50,000 words. Have mercy on their souls.
For those of you who weren’t in on this bumpy ride of the Strong vs Weak Word series since its inception, it was born out of my own editing pain. I spent the better part of the summer polishing my manuscript. Whenever I ran across a weak, or oft-repeated word, I poked at it. If the word didn’t dance on the page, I poked it some more to see if I could fix the flat language. And when I could fix it, I shared my brilliant discovery with you, my unwitting readers.
Well, I am overstating my wisdom, but the response from you let me know that many of us share the same writerly tics, crutches, and the tendency to fallback on certain words. I lovingly call those words “cheeky little buggers.” They sneak in our writing unnoticed and do nothing to punch up the story.
An early discovery of a “cheeky little bugger” was the word “went.” My character went here and went there. She never strode, marched, tiptoed, or pirouetted anywhere. For example, change the words “I went to the principal’s office” to “I slunk to the principal’s office” and you have a better visual.
I plan to make the series into a made-for-TV-movie. Steven Spielberg wants to direct it. Until I can work out my 7-figure royalty payment with Stevie-boy, I’ll settle on working the Strong vs Weak Word series into a slim tome in the coming months, publish it, and then sit on my laurels. Fame and fortune will soon come my way. And yes, I do sign autographs.
Can I send back your firstborn children now? They are eating me out of house and home. And GAWD, the laundry is piling up.
Thank you, and no, you must keep them until they are out of college.
Damn. They take up a lot of space!
Not only that, but they eat an awful lot!
I know. My pantry and fridge are empty! They are awfully polite tho. You taught them well.
🙂 Nick had a friend for dinner, and I wasn’t paying attention to them, but working on the computer. I heard a voice say, “Do you have anything else to eat?” I thought it was one of my boys, so I gave the standard reply of, “Like WHAT! You just ate dinner! What more do you want?” I didn’t realize it was the friend, and of course I wouldn’t have said that to him…” 🙂 Everybody looked at me. When I finally caught on, I addressed said kid with, “Well, you know you are like one of my own!” Which he absolutely is.
That is a great story! Way to mother Nick’s friend. He has probably heard the line before.
Probably so… 🙂
Hey Robin, would you mind taking a quick look at this and tell me what you think? http://investforsuccessblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/weekly-photo-challenge-changing-seasons-3/
I don’t think it’s legit.
Nope . . . not legit. Take a look at a post I did over the summer. I had the same kind of “looks legit” reblogs. Hasn’t happened since.
Thanks. I had actually read that post, and then forgot. Someone else had posted about this recently too, and I didn’t know what to think.
Sad that someone took so much time to make it look legit, rather than using the time to do something good for the world.
I reported them as spam, and sent them a message to remove my reblog. I then notified some of the others reblogged on there. When I went back, mine was gone. It is sad. But I think it’s an effort to drive people to a spam web site, because at the end of all the posts is a referral to another site. 😦
Some people have too much evil time on their hands.
Amen to that! Hope you are doing better! I was thinking about you today…
You are so sweet. I was thinking about you too. We need to schedule our Skype call. I’ll email you.
That must have taken you forever! But I bet you’ll enjoy having it in its own place now.
It didn’t take too long. I discovered the “Quick Edit” feature and easily added a new category to each post. Now, I need to clean them up!
Lynne Ayers said:
Hi, Robin, This is Steven – we’ve caught the chatter and are really interested in working with you to produce an epic on your Weak vs the Strong – I was thinking of something along the lines of a modern Ben Hur, or David vs Goliath … let me know your thoughts – sincerely your friend, Steven S. Oh, and from the masses, THANK YOU! for this fine work.
Hey Stevie-Boy. Thanks for checking in, but I already signed a contract with Woody Allen. He knows how to portray writerly-angst better than anyone I know.
Plus, you took too long to get back to me. You snooze, you lose.
Lynne Ayers said:
I think Woody will have the whole wrong take on it Robin Nobody does an epic like I do … but you choose, you lose and everyone will snooze.
Oh, but his dry humor. I love his dry humor. Maybe they can collaborate? Epic comedy ET style?
Lynne Ayers said:
Ok, that might work.
Well done. I think it is a good idea to put them in an easy to find place. You’ve just created a handy reference for people.
Now I need to clean the series up and get the puppy published!
Pingback: Strong vs Weak Words ~ Part 38 ~ Everyone and Everybody « Robin Coyle
The Hook said:
Great work, Robin!
Great? I think not. But thanks.
Dang. This has been quite a project for you. Time to put ’em all in a book.
The series rather took on a life of its own.
Well done, Robin!
Fantastic Robin! Linking it all is a great idea (in one convenient location) 😀
Don’t forget to visit me when you’re rich and famous (promise I’ll sweep the critters out of your room before you arrive) 😯
Yes, please. No snakes, geckos, or cockroaches for me! I’m too famous for that. Please shoo out any other vermin, like mice, spiders, and literary agents.
Hahaha – it’s the literary agents that will do the most damage (slippery little rascals)!
A scary group . . . worse than snakes! Gosh, I hope there isn’t an agent reading this.
Yay! – Saves me the bother of making my own list of them from the old posts! Now, I must go and do some more procrastinating
I’m sure there is some tile grout that needs scrubbing somewhere in your house.
T. W. Dittmer said:
I read the “Strong vs. Weak Words” posts and take notes. Now that you’re going to make a made for TV movie, I can eat potato chips while I learn. Boob tube time! 🙂
Potato Chips, a beer, and a riveting movie of the week!
Dennis Langley said:
Out flippin’ standing! You have no more excuses. You have an idea, content, and the audience is enthralled with you. Do you see it as an action/adventure or a chick flick? The popcorn is going into the microwave and I just ordered a box of Milkduds. Woohoo.
Hmmmm . . . since I am from California, could it be a Western? Surfer movie?
While you are at the snack bar, will you pick up some Raisonettes and SnoCaps for me?
Dennis Langley said:
Excellent, another Sam Elliott western.
How about a Mtn Dew to cut the sweetness of the chocolate?
Perfect! I’ll take mine with extra ice.
Le Clown said:
Steven Spielberg doesn’t direct movies with strong words in them. I mean… Did you ever see E.T.? You need someone who will truly understand you, your wit, but mostly, your eloquence… Someone like Woody Allen… He’s in need of a good script… In dire need I would add. And you’re not 12-yr old, you have nothing to worry about as a woman…
Woody is an excellent choice for directing the movie. All his angst is perfect. Isn’t that what we writers have? Angst? You betcha!
Please please please don’t say you’re joking. I want to buy this book! 🙂
Congrats, another nomination for you for Blog of the year! 🙂
Nope, not joking. You may be the only person who want to buy the book, so I’ll give it to you.
And thank you for the lovely nomination. I do not feel worthy. Such talent (you) out in the blogosphere.
I am SO buying your book, I would buy more than one copy as well because I think it’s something that’s very useful to every writer! 🙂
You, Ms Coyle, are awesome! 🙂
Guess what Katy!!! I just heard from WordPress I am going to be Freshly Pressed in a couple days! You are the first person, other than my husband, I’ve told. I am speechless.
WOW! This is FABULOUS!
CONGRATUATIONS! I CAN’T wait! This is wonderful and SO wel deserved! I feel honoured too, by the way! Well done! x
I keep thinking they made a mistake.
Pingback: Blog of the Year 2012! « beforeiforget
Vanessa Chapman said:
I’m doing NaNo, and of course when you’re rattling it out, you don’t think too much about about the “rules”, there’s no time. And regularly during the writing process, I’ve thought to myself “Don’t worry for now Vanessa, later you can call up all of Robin’s strong vs weak words, and tackle each of them, one at a time.” How handy to have it all in one link like that!
I didn’t realize you are doing NaNo. How do you manage to write blog posts AND 50,000 words in one month? Are you Wonder Woman? How silly of me to ask. Of course you are Wonder Woman!
I thought I should slunk into your blog and see what you have been up to these days.
Waw, 7 figures royalty… need someone to share the wealth with? 🙂
Yup, 7 figures. However, the figures are all zeros. No wealth here to share.
Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife said:
But where is the link?
The link is on the left sidebar, under the heading “My Blog.” See it?
Cathy Ulrich said:
The book sounds like a great idea, Robin. And thanks for all the work you put into compiling them for the blog. I’ll be first in line for a signed copy!
Now I need to clean up the posts and add more. Fear not, I have more weak words to tackle.
Tee hee right back atcha!
To supplement the book and other wonderful ideas generated by your merry band of commenters, maybe you could host a “Strong vs Weak Words” TV chat show, inviting wannabe and published authors to workshop with you… it could be an empire!
Excellent idea! I can be the next Oprah Winfrey. I can start my own favorite things list. I can give away cars. I can start my own TV network and fail. Power is a heady thing.
I know I jest, and you jest, but in all seriousness I could see a niche market for this… workshopping your writing via a TV forum/chat show 🙂
Not a bad idea. You will be my first guest.
Oh, such clever commenters before me! Don’t forget—once the movie’s made, there will have to be a new version of the book based on the movie. More royalties! 🙂 Get yourself a good lawyer to make sure you don’t give those rights away. 😉 Now if I can just get through the revision rewrites to get to the polishing stage!
I swear, bloggers are a smart bunch. So funny. And, they’ve given my great ideas on how to build my empire.
Want to star in the movie? I can get you a hunky leading man. Who would you like?
Can it be one of my characters? 😉
Michael Endicott 🙂 You haven’t met him yet. And now his wife is ready to smack me upside the head. 😉
Michael Endicott is an excellent leading man-ish name. Tell his wife to sit down. We have a movie to make.
As long as she doesn’t pull out her 9mm, I think I’m okay. 😉
Woot Woot!, I’m all giddy now. You done good. I take it it weren’t a medium, midsize task, neither. I’ll have to take a look and see where the link is at!! 🙂 🙂 (Okay, how many rules did I just break??? Oh, don’t punish me teach. I was just havin’ fun!!) 🙂
Love it. “Where the link is at.” You know how to set a girl’s teeth on edge. I can’t believe you remember the medium, mid-size lesson. Atta girl!
And you’ve copyrighted the “strong vs weak” design for tats? Just sayin’…And of course action figures as soon as the made for TV movie…..wait! And a video game – schools will be estatic – they need to shoe use of technology!
No stone left unturned…(or was that duck! Incoming. Gotta watch those qwackers)
Seriously – great idea, thanks
Action figures! Now why didn’t I think of that? A line of school lunch boxes. Halloween costumes! It will be bigger than the whole vampire thing. Or, Harry Potter. Or, dare I say it . . . 50 Shades of Strong vs Weak Words!
Hollywood, here I come!
Turn in that retirement letter!
Carrie Rubin said:
Well done, Robin! Love that I’ll be able to refer back to it if–or I should say–when I need it. Thanks! (And I’ll be first in line for the movie version. Can you get Daniel Craig to star?)
I was in negotiations with Dan-o, as he likes me to call him, but he was too demanding. Tuxes, martini glasses, vintage Aston Martins. Geez. You would think he was a movie star or something.
Carrie Rubin said:
Let's CUT the Crap! said:
Why don’t you, Robin? You started this. EVERYone NEEDs it. Do it. Put your name on it. GO…
I’m off to the races! If making the series into a book takes as long putting them all in one place on my blog, look for it sometime next year! Lordy.
Sounds good! I will cash in on knowing you before you were the millionairess.
I like the sound of “millionairess.” Has a nice ring to it.
You could buy a lot of rings…
Publish it into a text book and sell it to college students for $200. I need to retire.
Turn in your resignation notice, honey! We will be rich. Rich I tell ya!
Maddie Cochere said:
You have been wonderful to share all of your knowledge with us. I know it helped me tremendously. Thank you.
Aw shucks. I’m not sure what I wrote is knowledge. It is more like ramblings of an edit-weary writer. If I can save one person from overusing the word “that,” then I am a happy camper.
no..keep the kid and the laundry. Nicely done Robin. I look forward my personalized autographed copy of your bookS. lLet me know when your book tour passes through N.E. :0)
(and my comment is screaming for an edit button..sorry for all the typos)
I love comments with typos. Makes me feel better about the typo-ridden comments I’ve left all over the blogosphere.
Please, can’t I send the kid and laundry back to you? She just ate a can of Cheese-Whiz. From the can.
She needs to bulk up and I cannot afford it. Let her eat will ya?
Your daughter is the only female college freshman on the planet who it trying to bulk up.
it is funny now.. she’s gotta little more booty going on. She put on 8 pounds and has a little more wiggle room with her required weight of 109.Such problems
When I sent him with out return post, I thought you’d keep him.
Brilliant, Robin. And just when I need them as the editing stage begins. Or should I say descends like the plague upon my home. The first born might leave voluntarily.
But he takes up so much room! I about fell over his size 12 sneakers he left in the middle of my kitchen.
Editing was the best of times, and the worst of times for me. At moments I thought, “Ah ha! I have something here.” Other moments I thought, “This is utter drivel. Don’t give up your day job, Robin.”