Lately, I’ve not had much to blog about. That is, until this post. Something popped into my brain, and I started writing, and, violà.
Actually, I’ve been busy reading fiction and writing fiction.
I’m still revising my novel, Passage of Promise. I just finished going through the whole story, adding scenes and revising and editing others. And it’s been great. Every time I do, my story strengthens and my main character ARC is more coherent.
Last week, I finished one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s called The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I’ve read another book of hers called The Nightingale, but The Great Alone is superior to The Nightingale, in my opinion. The characters were chiseled out with such superb precision, and the plot was excellent. The evoking of emotions was fantastic, so much so, I cried in four different sections of the story. I was so moved by what was going on with the characters! Bravo, Kristin Hannah!
If you haven’t read The Great Alone, GET IT AND READ IT!!
Here’s the synopsis via Amazon:
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
Now, to discuss the subject matter mentioned in the title of this blog post.
As you know from my previous blog posts where I discussed reading a book on showing instead of telling, I shared some examples of what words to avoid and how to use certain words. Well, let me tell you. How many of us writers have been told don’t use the words “began,” “started,” “because,” “realized,” “wondered,” “knew,” and the like because they aren’t really active verbs.
I’ve read two different novels in the past few weeks, and both of them contained a few of these words. Did it ruin the flow of the sentences, the storyline, the action of the scenes? Nope. There’s a point when those words can be gingerly sprinkled throughout the many pages of novels, and it won’t drag down or mar the stories.
This is what happened for me.
I mean, I couldn’t help but notice all those taboo words and acknowledged where excellent descriptions and images were written. I think we writers tend to do that. But when you can get past that and be drawn in, or in my case, literally sucked into the lives of the characters in Hannah’s, The Great Alone, the few mentions of those less active words read just fine, fit in just fine because the rest of the words surrounding them make up for it.
Therefore, what I’ve learned is we don’t have to be totally anal about show, don’t tell, or banning these simple words from our sentences. In reality, it’s natural to have a conservative smattering of these words in our works. There, now. We can draw in a nice, cleansing breath and exhale with relief.
My novel, Passage of Promise, goes back through my critiquing group in a couple of weeks into the new year, and we’ll see how it goes from there. My next step is to re-read over my whole story and see if there are any parts that aren’t relevant or interesting enough to the storyline…read the flow and see if it all fits together the way it should. Upwards and onwards!