Thursday, July 10, 2014

Reversal Word

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! As you can probably tell, I'm going into word reversal in novels today. What the heck am I talking about? Well, I'm not gonna beat around the bush. Grab your pens and notebooks, slurp up that coffee, and let's get going!

When I say word reversal, what I mean is using the difficult path to convey an idea to your reader. One of the things I do when I'm editing is check readability. Your words should flow for the eyeballs moving over the page. One of the acronyms I love is:

K. I. S. S.

It means: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Never speak over your reader's head (we know you're smart, but making someone feel stupid isn't a good idea), and try not to reverse your words. If you do, be on the lookout for awkward sentences in your first round of edits.

Time for some examples!

Rob looked at me, and I inwardly cringed.

First off, you don't need that adverb. Taking it out would simplify the sentence and make it more reader friendly. But let's say we want to leave it in there. As an editor, I try to apply a lighter hand when suggesting changes. I'll suggest a blanket change to remove most of the adverbs when I run across the first one. Mentioning it again becomes cumbersome. If the author enjoys adverbs and I leave this sentence alone (thinking it'll be fixed later), I'm doing them a disservice. Why? Because it will read/flow better if the action precedes the modifier. That's my job. There are two possible fixes if we leave in the adverb:

I cringed inwardly when Rob looked at me.
Rob looked at me, and I cringed inwardly.

Put the action first.

Here's another one that needs some rearranging:

I'd heard about the relationship being messed up between them, but I knew it wasn't also damaged on my side.

A small move will make a big difference. Like this:

I'd heard about the relationship being messed up between them, but I also knew it wasn't damaged on my side.

Make sense?

Yes, there's always more than one way to fix a sentence. Remember to KISS your reader, and you'll be fine.

When in doubt, read it out!

Do you ever catch yourself making those kinds of mistakes?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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