…maybe. So here’s the weird part about being a writer, well one of the weird parts. I’m never done. I buttoned up the revisions on the first novel last night, dealt with my crit partner’s comments and edits and worked out the parts that still needed tweaking. When I was done, I put all the chapters together into a manuscript file and saved it. Then I sent it to my Kindle so I could read it again in book form. Six pages into Chapter 1, I found a POV (Point of View) glitch that neither of us caught. Um…probably a safe bet that my heroine is not going to think about the color of her own eyes when she’s fighting tears.
My critique partner will tell you that I have issues with POV–mostly when I get caught up in dialogue. I’m telling the story, creating the conversations between my characters, and I lose track of the fact that the hero doesn’t think of his own shoulders as brawny and the heroine doesn’t realize her own skin is touchable.
POV was a new concept to me, in spite of the fact that I’ve been writing for years. It never occurred to me that I needed to stay in the head of the person who was guiding the scene. Another term I’ve learned is “head-hopping,” which means going from one character’s thoughts to another’s in the same scene. Not a good thing unless you’re already an established author and have published numerous titles. Then you can probably get away with it because we already love you and we’ll read anything at all you write, even if you break the rules.
I’m not sure how to define my writing style–except that I’m a story teller and I can get very sappy, which in the romance world is not particularly a bad thing. I’m working on my tendency to overuse adverbs, since my partner has threatened more than once to come and rip the “l” and “y” keys off my keyboard. Another thing is that I write with a lot of emotion, but I have hard time writing anger, I think because I have a hard time being angry. I’m not good at it.
My biggest problem is that I’m not only a writer; I’m also an editor–that’s how I make my living. And I edit nonfiction–a lot of college textbooks–so the language is completely different from the language I use to write my novels. But the editor kicks in occasionally. For example, the use of “bad” versus “badly,” as in “He wanted her so badly, it hurt.” Now, editor Nan fixed this to read, “He wanted her so bad it hurt.” Here’s why. “Badly” is an adverb that describes the action, so the sentence as is tells me (editor Nan) that the guy is doing a poor job of wanting her. “Bad,” on the other hand is an adjective that describes the level of his feeling–he wants her a lot. So, logically, well, grammatically, that’s correct.
But, that’s not how we talk. Most people would say “badly.” “I feel badly for him.” or “She wanted him so badly…” You get the picture. If you read the words aloud–something I’m learning to do as I write–“badly” just flows better. Maybe not to my editorial ear, but to most reader’s ears, it would. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, and probably again and again. Writing is learning. If I stop learning, my writing stops improving. And I always want to be the best writer I can be.
Nan Reinhardt is a romance writer. She’s also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and grandmother to one aging bunny and a golden retriever named, Lily. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last fifteen years, she’s earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is her first and most enduring passion. She has completed two novels and they are currently with her agent, Maureen Walters, of Curtis Brown Literary Agency in New York. Like Jo March (Little Women), she writes late at night in her upstairs garret, after the editing gig work is finished for the day and her household is asleep.