Row 80, Writing

Killing off “My Darlings,” #ROW80 Updates

ROW 80 is a friendly group that’s there to help writers focus on their writing goals.  Each writer decides what they would like to accomplish in the next 80 days.  We check in on Sundays and Wednesdays with their “linky tool” and are encouraged to adjust our goals as needed.  If you’re late getting started and would like to join, that’s OK.  Round 1 lasts from January 2, 2012 through March 22, 2012.

I took a mini-break from my book, but I’m back.  I was caught up in a Beta reading project.  What a great experience!  I feel inspired to hack away at my own novel.   Yay!!!  🙂

I have a not-so- secret desire to see if I can finish my own book somewhere around my birthday, a gift to myself.  Reading another author’s work, an author that I admire, made me want this achievement even more!

A few weeks back, I split my first book in two books.   So far, it’s gone well.  I made the right decision.  I know that I’m green to all of this.   I’m not stupid.  I manage people, not words.  I suppose that’s why I look at my writing the way that I do.  I see it as a process.  EVERY writer HAS to pay their dues!  It’s the writer’s equivalent of scrubbing toilets and mopping floors when your new to the job.  I don’t assume I’m special, nor do I assume that I’m an exception to this.  In fact, I think I need to work harder because I HAVEN’T taken ANY creative writing classes, not ever.  I took a TON of literature classes, way back in high school, because I enjoy reading.  My editing has gotten better, but I’m mostly self-taught.  I read books on writing, grammar, etc. and pray that something sticks.  🙂  It’s not always pretty, but I need all the advice I can get.

I came across this great link today:

Elizabeth May,  “Self-Editing a Manuscript in Eight Steps.”    

Thanks to Elizabeth’s post, I spent the day “looking for my darlings,” my overused words, then killing them off.  😉  I went to my manuscript, clicked on “Edit,” put in “ly” under “Find,” minus the quotation marks, and set to work.  Wow!  Holy adverbs!  Some of them stayed, but most got a rewrite.  I didn’t need most of them.  I needed better descriptions.  I can see significant improvements already.

Take care and Happy Writing!


28 thoughts on “Killing off “My Darlings,” #ROW80 Updates”

  1. Hmmm I could use a beta reader too.. Just sayin’… speaking of “just” when I took a flash fiction class (I take classes don’t read books; to own their each) the teacher pointed out that I use “just” a lot. Oh boy do I ever! So my word that I search for is “just” and always find a goodly number the majority of which can be changed or eliminated entirely. My plan is to publish my historical short story way before my next birthday. Do you have your cover and blurb done?


    1. Every time I think of the word “just,” I think of the movie, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” I certainly don’t want to be a “just” gal! LOL Great movie!!!

      The cover, title, and blurb all went bye-bye when I made the choice to split my book in two. Book 2 seems to have gotten everything in the “settlement” LOL I have some new cover ideas, but I need a new title first. Nothing is working for me, yet.


  2. Poor adverbs getting slashed. 😉 It’s definitely a process. One that pains me. And it’s way easier seeing the problems in someone else’s story than it is in your own. Which seems really unfair btw! But the only way to get better is to keep going, and I KNOW you can finish that novel in time. *Cracks whip*


    1. Isn’t that the truth! It’s one thing for me to Beta read for somebody else, but it’s harder to see the details in my own work.

      I just had a comment from a friend of mine who’s doing a little Beta reading for me. My book isn’t done, but I needed to bounce some things off of her. I have a teenage character in my story and I felt that I should get a teenager’s perspective. I don’t want this character to be cliche. I want her to be quick-witted and funny, but most importantly, I want her to feel like she could be a real person. It’s been almost 20 years since I was a teen myself and this reader/friend is almost nineteen. She’s been very helpful. My stories aren’t necessarily for YA, but I do see them having some cross-over potential.

      Funny thing is, this friend found a mistake I’d made in a different passage. It was a simple thing. I was able to fix it with only an extra sentence or two, but I would never have caught my mistake otherwise. 🙂

      Keep cracking that whip at me! I need to keep moving forward. LOL You’ve been such a positive influence on me, Claire! Thank You!!!


      1. Oh, dude, I’m seriously considering Ava crossovers. If you find out how to force your brain to focus on one damn thing at a time, then please, let me know. 😉

        Great idea, getting input from an actual teen. For me, it’s really hard to write teens without dating it. Also, non-angsty teens are a joy to write. It’s the miserable ones that take a lot out of ya. 😀

        Those simple mistakes are a pain in the hole. I’m always embarrassed when people find out how stupid I am, but also overwhelmingly thankful that they found it before it was published. Everything comes with a price!

        You *will* keep moving forward unless you want to deal with the wrath of Claire. It isn’t pleasant. 😛 You’re the one that’s the good influence, btw! If I want positivity, I come see Juli, and I tone down my narkiness. No, seriously, find your own pace and try to finish what you start. Even if you think it’s bad, because you can’t edit a blank page. So dur.


        1. AWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Claire!

          Ava is a great character! I love her quirks! I recommend your Ava books all the time. I think there’s excellent crossover potential. If you ever decide to do another Ava book, etc, let me know. I’d love to Beta read for you again.

          I’m so glad that I’m getting a teen’s perspective. I don’t know if it’s a YA book, but it’s a “mother/daughter-ish” story, so I’m trying to keep things cleaner than if I didn’t have a teenager in the book. My character, Chloe, is almost sixteen at the start of this book. She needs to grow up a little before I’ll let any of my characters be too naughty…especially my vampires. 😉 I don’t think of myself as a prude when it comes to my own reading habits, but the mom-in-me won’t allow anything that’s too graphic or violent to happen while Chloe is still that young. There’s a little swearing, but it’s mild.

          I guess I don’t remember high school as fondly as some, no sunshine and rainbows for me! I hope I can bring some of that into my book. I didn’t get to go to prom. I never seemed to know how to do the “dating thing,” though I had lots of friends who were guys. If I could sum up my teenage years with one word, it would be “awkward.” LOL

          One of my BIGGEST pet peeves with YA books, is the parents in these stories. Where are they? I don’t know why the parental figures don’t seem to have an active role in most of the newer YA stories that are out there. I used to read Beverly Cleary’s books when I was a kid. I love her stories! I remember reading all of the Ramona books. The main characters felt so real to me because they were part of a family. My target audience isn’t NEARLY that young, but I think Beverly Cleary had the right idea…at least for me and my writing. Everyone has to do what works for them. So far, my teen Beta reader hasn’t objected to having a cast of adults along with a few teenagers. That’s a relief.

          It’s been a challenge, writing a family story with a vampire twist, but then again…I’m having SO MUCH FUN! Yes, sometimes I find myself giggling while I write, so if nothing else, at least I was entertained.

          Now…if I could just stay focused…. Squirrel!!!! LOL


          1. Once my beta reader, always my beta reader. Didn’t you read the fine print? I bet you completely skipped over the bit where you signed over your soul, too. Mwahahaha!

            I love Ava – she’s such an idiot. 😀

            Your book sounds awesome btw. I love when it’s a bit different than what we’re used to, sparkleage-wise. (I don’t even know what that word should look like). 😀 I’ve discovered a new love for the whole vampire thing since I started with Ava. It’s kind of fun! And I know what you mean about holding back because of younger characters. When I first started on my y/a series, I was a lot younger. Now I’m all – nope, you can’t do that. Or that. Just stay home and be good.

            I also didn’t particularly enjoy school. I try not to think about my teenager years too much, or my characters might suddenly get very bold. I’m so glad they lied about those days being the best of our lives!

            The whole absent parent device in YA makes it a lot easier to let the kids run riot. My teenage years were sooooo not like that btw! Also, it makes it easier to have some already established, justifiable angst. Totally me btw! 😉

            The fun is important. Sometimes I think a lot of writers give up too soon because they’ve forgotten it’s possible to have fun while writing. Recently, I got pretty pissed with my y/a series. It’s a massive pain in the arse – never again am I writing a series like this and then randomly deciding to add a simultaneous novella. Sometimes I’m incredibly stupid. Anyways! I randomly started writing this tongue-in-cheek y/a story, and it was SO much fun. Kind of kickstarted the love again. So yeah, point of this novel is to say keep having fun.


            1. Oh good! So THAT’S where my soul went! I thought I misplaced it. I lose everything. LMAO!!!! What a relief!

              Thank you, Claire. When my story is finished, I’ll send a copy your way. You can throw it waaaaaaay up on top of your reading mountain. LOL With 5 kids, several dogs, and many books to be written…all simultaneously, I’m sure you have oodles of time on your hands!!! LOL I swear, if I could figure out how to give you 30 hours each day instead of 24, I’d throw those your way too. 🙂

              I have a mental list of all the things I WON’T allow my characters to do, thanks to Chloe. I actually had a dream a few weeks back, that one of MY characters took off with some characters from another author’s series. They all went bar-hopping together and left their writers behind!!! Is that funny, or what!!! How would Freud analyze THAT dream? LOL I wasn’t cool enough to hang out with my fictional friends because I was still in my PJs and bathrobe. Sad, but true.

              The “tongue-in-cheek” Y/A sounds interesting. I love humor. I know that’s hard to believe!!!!!! He! He!!!


              1. LMAO! I can always count on you to make me snort. 😀

                I’m going to make more time for reading. I was trying to work out a writing schedule, but it turns out it’s going to take me foreva to do what has to be done so I’m not going to sweat it. Too much. 😀 I would totally accept those extra hours. I would use them to sleep. I’m so rock ‘n roll.

                Weird ass dreams just come with the territory, I think. Keep a notebook by your bed and scribble down what happens – just in case it’s usable. 😉

                What’s weird about the y/a tongue in cheek thing is that I recently read a y/a book that is almost identical! Except the girl falls for the creepy vampire stalking her, my girl decapitates him. As you do. 😀

                No. Don’t lie to me. You don’t like humour at all. (Ah! You nearly had me spelling humour the American way! I won’t fall for it. I won’t.) 😛


                1. She decapitates him? Awwww so it’s a romance story with a happy ending. She can stick his head on her mantle, and enjoy gazing at him for years to come! Wait…wait…I feel a tear forming…sniffle. Yup! I love a story with a happy ending!!! LOL

                  Not only will I trick you into writing humor, the American way, I’ll throw in a y’all, just because I can! Ha! Y’all have a great day now!!!! LMAO!!!!


                  1. I know, right? She’s such a delicate little thing, too. Now that’s forever love. 😀

                    I can work with y’all. I’m totally using that word to freak out my family today. Now I just have to contaminate you with some Irish words. 😉


                    1. I used the word arse the other day, does that count? It sounds soooo much more polite than ass. 😉 LMAO

                      Please continue to pollute my language with Irish words! He! He!!!!!


                    2. YES!! Also, say feck. And watch Father Ted!

                      And you must refer to someone’s parents as their Ma and Da OR their ‘oul wan and ‘oul fella. 😉

                      I’ll have you talking like a Dub scanger yet! 😀


                    3. You DID say show! We’ll have you talking like an American in NO time!!! 😉 LOL

                      I’m watching more episodes of Father Ted. Why have I NOT heard of this show, before? 🙂 DRRIINK!!! He! He!

                      My favorite show of all times is Gilmore Girls, and yes, I DO talk as fast as the characters on that show…sometimes faster. I’m not sure why this is, but in the United States, the further north you are, the faster you seem to talk. Weird. Maybe it’s a temperature thing. It gets really cold in the winter, living as far up north as I do. People in Michigan and other northern states tend to walk fast, and talk fast, and drive fast. Funny stuff!


                    4. You’re just unlucky to have been deprived the awesomeness that is Father Ted. I still miss it! And I LOVED the Gilmore Girls! I never realised the characters spoke fast until I saw a parody of it online at some stage. That’s how fast I talk!

                      It’s weird how that works. I remember years ago someone telling about a funeral they went to. Half of the family were from one county, the other half from across the country. By the time one said finished a prayer, the others were only on the second line. So talking speed is a worldwide divide. 😀


                    5. I HAVE been deprived! LOL

                      That’s funny!!!! That happened at my aunt’s funeral. We had family come from ALL over. There was a song that we were supposed to sing that didn’t have a strong melody part…or at least it didn’t the way the pianist played it. Half the family was on the wrong stanza. (I was one of them. Oops!) We all ended singing at different times. It was soooo bad! Pretty funny, too…in a really messed up kind of way!

                      I had no idea that this was a world wide phenomenon! I feel connected to fast talking people everywhere. He! He! I learn something new everyday! 😉


                    6. It’s been literally the only funny thing to come out of Ireland. 😀

                      Hmm, I wonder if speedy talkers are better able to understand speedy talkers from other countries? I was watching a youtube video, and most of the comments were like ZOMG, too fast fur ma ears. Has no understandz! I was all meh, that wasn’t fast. Pfft.

                      And how strange is it that almost the exact same events are happening all over the world. I wonder if we have doubles, too. Creepy. 😀


                    7. I would think that they could understand other speedy talkers better, no matter where they’re from. That’s pretty cool, when you think about it! 🙂

                      I sometimes wonder if there are only a limited amount of personalities in this world, and if your lucky (or unlucky) you’re bound to run into another version of yourself eventually. Then again, I think people in general, are more alike than different. 🙂 I don’t think that we are all unique as snowflakes…though I HAVE met a few flakes in my day! LMAO!!!


  3. I used to be way too close to my work and got emotional about killing off those babies. Now I do it with an evil cackle. Makes it more fun 🙂 lol.

    I believe everything is a process.

    Glad to hear things are going well 🙂


  4. I published my first book with one Short Story writing class to my credit (which I took at a community college on a whim). I still shy away from them, but like you, I read craft books and have taken many literature courses. There’s a lot to be said for learning as you go and simply writing. We all pave our own ways. Good luck continuing to figure out yours. I know I learn something new everyday from all the writers out there.


    1. I can’t imagine trying to fit in a class with my hectic schedule, but I do read a lot. There aren’t enough hours in the day! Thanks for the encouragement and for stopping by. It’s nice to talk to other people who’ve been through the same things.

      Happy Writing!


  5. Right now, I’m not too worried about my adverbs and adjectives since they at least get my authorial interpretation on the page even if they are clumsy and clunky. It keeps me from bogging down as much when I need to keep things rolling. But when it comes revision time, I’ll be running the chainsaw on them. Vrrrrrrmmmmm!

    Best wishes on finishing your book before your birthday! 😀


    1. Yay! Maybe? I don’t know.

      I’m going through some stuff at work, so that’s ALL I can think about. It’s inventory time. I won’t bother you with the details, but my stomach has been in nervous knots all week. Lots of pressure, blah, blah, blah. This is one of the few times of the year that I DON’T like my job. I won’t be able to think until inventory is over…2 days 8hrs, and counting.


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