Cliche Alert

When you write your first draft, it’s okay to forge ahead and write whatever channels through your mind. The next sweep through will give you the opportunity to eliminate those clichés you planted along the way.

Cliche Alert

I’m preparing to reissue The Drift Lords Series, and my cliché alert meter went into full mode back when I did my initial proofread for Warrior Lord. Here’s what I found then and how I changed these phrases. When writing your novel, try to stay in your character’s head and think of analogies relevant to her mindset. In this case, my heroine owns a pottery studio and is a down-home girl from Arizona. Erika ends up battling evil trolls and demons along the way to finding true love.

OLD: Erika sensed his withdrawal from the way his shoulders tensed and his jaw tightened. Had she done something wrong? She hadn’t said anything when the man next to him commented on his attire. Perhaps he’d detected her negative opinion of his costume. Sure, it looked great on him, but he stood out like a sore thumb. If he was hoping to avoid attention from their enemy, he’d gone about it the wrong way.

NEW: Erika sensed his withdrawal from the way his shoulders tensed and his jaw tightened. Had she done something wrong? She hadn’t said anything when the man next to him commented on his attire. Perhaps he’d detected her negative opinion of his costume. Sure, it looked great on him, but he stood out like gold among clay. If he was hoping to avoid attention from their enemy, he’d gone about it the wrong way.

OLD: As soon as the group passed, she eased open the door. A peek outside told her the coast was clear. She slipped into the corridor, Magnor following as stealthy as a jungle cat.

NEW: As soon as the group passed, she eased open the door. At Magnor’s nod of consent, she slipped into the corridor. He followed, moving with the stealth of a ninja.

OLD: She couldn’t help the pall of depression that settled over her shoulders like a shroud.

NEW: She couldn’t help the pall of depression that settled over her.

Sometimes it’s best to just eliminate the cliché. It also helps to make a list of terms familiar to the protagonist’s career. That’s how I came up with this change:

OLD: Magnor had grabbed her hand, and he let go as though she’d given him a hot coal.

NEW: Magnor had grabbed her hand, and he let go as though she’d given him a firebrick from her kiln.

OLD: A wave of despondence hit her like a punch to the gut.

NEW: I decided to keep this one. It won’t hurt every now and then to use a cliché so do your best and don’t worry about the rest.

When writing your novel, be on the alert for cliches and change them to enhance your character's viewpoint. #amwriting #writetip Click To Tweet

You get the idea? The self-editing process gives you the chance the rake through your words and make improvements. Clichés are only one of the problems you’ll be searching for as you read through your manuscript. Be sure to check those clichés at the door before submitting your work.

 

Homework for Writers

What is homework for writers? It’s when you need to learn something new, and instead of going the easy route by asking writer friends for answers, you do the research yourself. It’s okay to ask for advice and input but don’t expect to learn everything there is to know.

Homework for Writers

Where Should You Start?
Listserves can be a great source of information. Join your professional writing organizations, set your posts for daily digests, and scan the topics. Any time something pops up that you might use one day, copy and paste the information into a file. Then when the time comes, you’ll have a rich source of data that you can mine.

Blogs, podcasts, and webinars are another great source. So are your group’s newsletters, writing workshops and conference classes. Collect all the data and file it for when you need it. I’ve done this with just about every marketing topic I’ve ever needed to address.

Launching a New Venture
So now you are ready to get started self-publishing or putting your indie book into print or applying for a BookBub deal or trying an Amazon ad. Scour through your information on the topic and eliminate any links or material that’s outdated. See what applies to your situation. Then organize your tasks step-by-step. This gives you control and is more manageable than facing the entire job, which can be overwhelming. Once you’re ready, you need to ignore the fear of failure that might be holding you back and take a leap into the unknown.

Examples
On the loops, I’ve been reading about authors who get wide distribution for their audiobooks via Findaway Voices. I have corresponded with a few of them regarding the switch from exclusive to non-exclusive on ACX. That’s the first step to do if you’ve paid up front. As instructed, I also downloaded the audio chapters for each of my four audiobooks.

Next, I went onto the Findaway site and wrote down their requirements. Figuring my books would work, I requested the change from ACX support and am waiting for this to go through. Then I’ll do the upload to Findaway. At that point, lots of new promotional opportunities will open. I have notes on these also. My goal is to gain new listeners and hopefully get into the library market with my audiobooks. It’s all a big gamble, but then, what isn’t in this business?

I am also approaching my first sale with trepidation. Now that all of my mystery backlist titles are on board, I can start doing price promotions. But the idea seems overwhelming. You have to set a date, book ads around that date, notify the vendors, create memes and ads. It’s a lot to do, not to mention social media blasts to get the word out.

The only way I can approach this adventure is to be supremely organized. Again, I’ve studied my files, reviewed blogs on the topic, asked other authors how they’ve done it, and then wrote a step-by-step guide on what to do. I rechecked links on ad sites that might have gone defunct since I started my files and picked the best places based on what other authors have mentioned.

And that’s how we take the next step forward. We listen. We research a topic. We verify links and search out new ones. And we move forward. There’s no magic bullet for what you want to do. You have to collect the data and organize it to suit your needs. It’s part of the business of being a writer. Do. Your. Homework.

Writers need to do their Homework #writingtip #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

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