Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Clearing out; Cleaning up…

Good Saturday afternoon! It’s hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone. With everything this year has brought, we needed that reminder of good friends and family love. Now, on to the clearing out of the uneaten Christmas treats and cleaning up the decorations.

This year I’m clearing out some old decorations that haven’t been used in years. As my hubby says, I’m purging. He’s glad because it makes the Christmas bins lighter for him and our son to haul back up to the attic. But what about our everyday things? Do we need to do some clearing out and cleaning up there too?

What do I mean you might be saying? Well, as I sat around with family and friends during Christmas, I thought about all of the things that we have that are not even used. There are so many what not’s just lying around, collecting dust. So, I’ve decided to clear some out and make room for some minimalism.

And what about our writing. Should we go through our works and clean out some unnecessary words? It’s so hard sometimes to get just 50k words down, but to think about clearing some of those out just makes a writer’s head hurt. I’m not talking about the meat of the story or the descriptions that help to carry the reader into another time or place. I’m talking about the unnecessary filler words. Or as I like to call them, fluff.

Now, all writers have a tendancy to use too many fluff words. It’s those words that add some extra words to the count. They don’t need to be there to make the story work, but they are just there to up the word count. Why not just clean them up, clear them out, and let the manuscript breathe without all of that added weight.

You will be surprised at how much better it sounds once you get rid of the fluff. I’ve done some fluff removing lately and the wording actually zips along without hinderance.

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…

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If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if you’re story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…