It’s about that time. With each book I write, when I hit the editing phase with Wendy, I share some of my newest key learnings or most consistent issues. So here’s what Wendy is catching a lot of in Black Orchid.
Too Many “Eyes”
In my first pass, I had a ton of expressions and not enough physical action. In particular, with the expression, I did a lot of eye descriptions. To fix this I did two things. First, I literally did a search for eye, look, glance, and then decided if there was a better way to get the point across with a more physical action. Then I made sure to look for more opportunities to incorporate character’s physical movements when I did my full read through before sending to Wendy for more edits. I even used actions to help heighten tension.
This was a very new one for me. In the middle of sentences I was injecting additional descriptions/ideas/thoughts that were truly complete sentences on their own. For example: “Nate, though deep in shock at the state of affairs, kept his mouth shut.” It’s okay to do this sparingly. Too much and sentences get way to long and confusing. In editing Wendy caught that I was doing this a ton! I think we caught the majority of them – only leaving them in where it makes sense.
I’ve been caught using passive before. This is where something happens to the character rather than the character doing it. For example…
Passive: Heaviness sat like lead in his heart.
Active: His heart was heavy with the weight of his regret.
In passive voice, the target of the action gets promoted to the subject position. Instead of saying, “Steve loves Amy,” I would say, “Amy is loved by Steve.” (See more at this resource Wendy sent me.) The funny thing about passive voice is I often feel it’s more poetic sounding – which is why it ends up in my writing. This is a preference thing with writers. My compromise is that of the 21 times I used passive voice in the book, I left in only 3 or so when I felt that the active voice just wasn’t as pretty. 🙂