Word Choices

ImageAs a writer, I spent lots of time mulling over word choices. Should I describe this as fast, or super-sonic? What if I said this is not slow? How does word choice affect a readers experience? Did I use the word affect correctly, or is it effect?

Yesterday as I was driving home, I noticed a sign. ‘Visibly impaired child at play’. For a small yellow caution sign, this seems awfully wordy to me. The sign is designed to caution drivers. At the same time a driver is concentrating on speed, checking their gas gauge, changing the volume of the radio, changing the station on the radio, holding their latte, checking their GPS for directions, watching for pedestrians and cyclists, and taking on the cell phone, now a driver is expected to read a wordy sign. And, understand it in a split second. Yeah, I have no doubt I can read and understand something, but some people I know don’t read. Scary, I know. I have actually met people that graduated from high school that could NOT read. That’s a blog for another time.

Why don’t they say Blind child? Oh, it’s PC (Politically correct)? I ask you this–Can’t we make signs designed for caution easy to understand?

What if they just said ‘child at play’. Do drivers need to know it’s a blind child? Also, should drivers only watch for playing children? If children are present, but don’t appear to be playing, does that mean the drivers don’t need to be aware of them?

What if the sign just said, ‘children’? But, all drivers should watch for all children at all times. Why even put out a sign?

Okay, so I admit it. It there was an occupation called ‘Grammar Police’ I’d apply. After all, why not get paid for something I do often.

Have you read any signs that are grammatically incorrect, or misspelled? Did it bother you as much as it does me?

So you think you can write

ImageA few years ago, I entered Mills & Boons New Voices Competition. I had a great chapter that I thought was exciting, but I went no where with it. I had a few comments on it, so few I was alarmed. Was it so bad many people didn’t finish reading it?

Who knows, but I did have a few compliments, which helped motivate me to keep going. I pulled it out a few months ago and reread it. I thought it was great.

Harlequin/Mills &Boon have a competition next month called ‘So you think you can write.’ I have to admit, the title irritates me. I hear it in a sarcastic voice. It suggests that not everyone can write. Everyone can write. It may not be good writing, but it is writing. It also suggests a writer has to have written long enough to have a positive attitude. There are good writers that don’t think they can write. What about them? Aren’t they welcome in the competition?

I decided to continue working on my current WIP and enter it. Tonight I’m reading a few first chapters in Harlequin Superromance books. That is the line my story is most suited for. One thing I need to work on is ‘romance’. I have a story line with a brief splattering of romance. For it to fit in with Harlequin, I need to increase the amount of sweetness. I admit, I’m not the romantic type. I’d be happier if my husband washes the dishes instead of buying me a dozen roses. If I’m not the romantic type, does that mean I can’t write romance? I hope not. There are many people that write about murder and crimes. Not all of them will leave the house and commit a heinous act. Well, I would hope most of them won’t.

This next month, my goal is to spiff up my first chapter and write a 100 word pitch. Once that is done, I need to edit the entire manuscript. There is a chance I will have to send in my full manuscript. Even if I don’t get that chance, I’m hoping to get enough comments and suggestions on how to improve my story.

The Morning Zone

Months ago, I read Rachael Aaron’s 2K to 10K. It’s a book designed to help writers improve by Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm. I highly recommend it.

It’s taken me a while, but I finally discovered, “The Morning Zone.” That is the time when I can get more writing done in the least amount of time. I have Rachael Aaron to thank for my discovery of this.

I have a full time, physically draining job. So, time doesn’t always mean my body is willing and able to do the things I want done. If you’ve read any of my blogs, what I want to do is to be a writer.

In the process of trying out new times and recording word counts, I got up at 4AM and wrote. What I noticed, was a vast difference in my work. Both in ability to write, and the amount of words I got down on paper. Okay, technically computer screen. But, eventually when I hit print, it will be on paper.

I now refer to these 3+ hours of writing time, as “The Morning Zone.” Not only do I have focus because I’m not exhausted from work, but my family is also asleep, so I am uninterrupted, and I don’t have to listen to the blare of the TV while concentrating.

You may be wondering, did I have any problems with my work routine? Surprisingly, no. Like I said, my work is physical. Not mental. If I had to think, I may have a problem, but I don’t. Writing doesn’t wear me out physically, but obviously, when I’m physically tired, I’m also unable to focus with my brain.

This decision seems to be a ‘no-brainer.’

Obviously, getting up at 4AM puts a kink on my evening time. I decided to make a choice. I had to give up evening time with my family, but most of that was time when we were doing separate things anyway. Since, I work with my husband, I still have hours of time during the day I can spend with him.

Is it worth it?

Definitely. I’ll be going to bed at least by 8 to be “In the Morning Zone.”