Nasty habits

I’ve discovered one nasty habit in my current draft. I find I write things like: he “started to” walk, he “started to” jog, or he “began to” stroll. Thankfully, I find it easy with Scrivener to search these phrases and change the phrase to “he walked”, “he jogged” or “he strolled”. Not bad – around 20 times in 80000 words! Still, 20 times too much.

Another habit is using hear/heard too much. Often I find if I reevaluate the sentence where the hear/heard appears I realize the situation calls for “listen” instead.

I also use cliches without even realising it. Did you know “hands on” is a cliche? Without I wouldn’t even know I wrote with these nasty flaws but with it, I am able to see and eliminate these faults.

Hopefully, eliminating these faults will tighten my writing and help my voice shine. Obviously, with all faults, I make a judgement call whether eliminating the faults improves my story before I make changes.


Getting rid of adverbs

I use a program called Scrivener, and it highlights the problems in my writing. One of my weaknesses are adverbs. When I first write a scene, they help describe the scene. In a first draft that’s fine because as Terry Prachett said: “The first draft is just telling yourself the story”.

I find Scrivener highlights the adverbs in my writing enables to see the problem areas. Highlighted, the adverbs stand out. either, I replace the adverbs with a more apt description and stretch my imagination. A rewarding task. Or I can delete because to delete declutters my words and makes my intending meaning clear. Also, a rewarding task. Either way, I consider whether the adverb is essential. On the rare occasion, it stays.

A Character Sketch

This is a short character sketch. Heads up – if you think a secret affair, you’d be wrong!

Tristan smiled back, assured, at his co-worker and they parted ways in the crisp, white corridor. If only he knew the truth, there is no way he could smile a goodbye. He’d escort his twisted arse – blue scrubs and all – out the hospital doors … never to return. Instead, his mop-haired co-worker allowed his lanky bod go with an innocent, parting smile. Tristan turned, nudged the horn rimmed glasses he didn’t need in place and a slow, lazy grin brightened his face as he made his way to the emergency rooms rubbing the engraved disk at his neck. The Emergency Rooms were the perfect place to hide his true identity.

Last night satisfied him like never before – what had it been? Was last night sweeter because the woman was his co-worker’s wife? He wanted that satisfaction again.

Tristan arrived at the emergency rooms as nurses bustled to the urgent bidding of doctors behind curtains.

“Tristan, over here,” yelled a doctor. “Get a bag A+ blood. Set up a transfusion. Quickly.”

Every fibre of his being fought the mischief of setting up an O negative transfusion instead, but he resisted. He wasn’t throwing away all he’d worked for. He hadn’t travelled half way across this world in this body, in the prime of its life, to upset the rare, exhilarating moments like last night.

The memory of last night kept him steady and he set up the A+ transfusion as asked. If he did as asked, then he’d blend and despite having to behave going against his very nature. Besides, he feared to lose the gift he’d been given. If anyone guessed his true identity, he’d become a lab rat if she didn’t destroy him first. For now, his fun needed to remain in the shadows and seem unconnected to him. Life was a prison controlled by the disk sealed around his neck and her.


What is tone?

Physios mumble I have tone and, over time, I’ve personally experienced what tone means to me. Imagine a steel rod and trying to bend the rod and the rod unintentionally resisting … that is tone to me. I don’t mean it, stiff tone automatically happens despite my wishing it would stop. Try bending my knee if I’m not ready and my leg will fight to stay straight. My leg can cooperate but I need to move into the right position and I need time for my thought, “relax”, to register with my brain. Move my leg too soon and you could break your biceps.

The best remedy I have found for my tone is hydrotherapy or cycling (the FES bike). I don’t like taking drugs. After either session the tone in my leg relaxes quicker and responds almost normal but that doesn’t last long. Within a few hours, my tone returns. No wonder I like keeping up rehab. Whether I like it or not, tone is a part of my life and this is how I manage it.