Friday, March 20, 2009

Last Day of March Break

This week was March Break and I have a teenager who wants to be entertained while many of her friends are out of town, skiing, visiting relatives and a few lucky ones are down south.

Yesterday was shopping day and we found a great piece of storage furniture for my daughters room at Costco. Fabulous price. It's actually two pieces that can be used one on top of the other or side by side. You really have to want a piece of furniture badly to buy it from Costco. You retrieve the gurney (long, flat cart) from the entryway yourself. Because if you don't, you'll be standing in the aisle for an hour waiting for an employee to retrieve it for you. It takes two of us to load the two boxes on to the cart, the cashier charges us double. Once I explain that there's only one item but two boxes he fixes it up.

I forgot I no longer drive a jeep - the small trunk issue stares me in the face. It's raining hard by now and we try to shove those two awkward boxes in the tiny trunk. Not happening. Boxes are wet, we're wet. I decide to take the furniture out of the boxes. Assuming the furniture is disassembled. Ha! For the first time ever, the furniture is completely assembled. It's getting wet, we have boxes and parking stuff all over the place and we finally get those buggers into the car. Whew. We're too wet to finish our shopping so we head home and proceed to do everything in reverse as we try to extricate the furniture from the trunk to the house. And I almost cry when I see the scratches I've put on the wood. I suck it up and plan to get some stain and fix the scratches tomorrow.

Finally, the unit it in my daughter's room. She doesn't like it. It should be white. It's too tall. I'm ready to kill her.

Back to the writing:

Despite good intentions, I've only managed to write for a few hours this week. I'm still reading my book on Focus so haven't put the techniques to work yet. If I had maybe this week would have turned out better? I have received a lot of crits on my last two revised/rewritten chapters of Unsuitable and I realized two things: I repeat the same words and phrases and still use cliches and overworked phrases.
On eharlequin there's an article on pet peeves and I found this

"Also, all authors, slush or published, need to tone down their use of the word 'gaze.' It is entirely overused." (

I've been reading through various writing books, trying to get guidelines on sharper writing, varying sentence structure, eliminating over-used cliches. Making Your Words Work by Gary Provost is the one I'm reading through this morning. The exercise after chapter one is list 10 commonly used words and come up with a synonym for each. Another exercise is write 5 nouns with adjectives then try to replace then with a strong verb. I think this is what I need to make my words sparkle. You've probably noticed I'm always in search of that magic technique that's going to turn me into a best seller. I might have found it.


Julia Smith said...

Repeat after ARE a best selling ARE a best selling author...

There. Don't you feel better now?

You're doing everything right, Anne - all the other writers surf the net and go shopping, too. Your day is near! I know it is.

Cat Schield said...

Holy moly. I just read the "rant" on eharlequin. Yikes. Think they're a little frustrated? And yet, IMO, perfectly good writers are turned away in favor of so so writing that fits into the "box" better.

Your furniture shopping experience makes me shudder. We have an IKEA near us. I am so reluctant to tackle a piece of furniture that I could use in my living room because I have a regular car and the thing (unassembled) weighs 165 pounds.

And back to writing. I think the repetition of words/phrases is sort of common as you're trying to get the story out. The final few drafts are a good time to check for words. Okay, just did a quick check of manuscript I just sent off and only used "gaze" 51 times. That's less than 1 time for every 1000 words. Is that too much?

Chin up! We love you and you're going to be a best selling author in no time!

Kelly Boyce said...

I think I'm guilty on gazed as well. I'll have to start flagging that to make sure I don't beat it to death.