Catching Up


Last weekend my writer’s group and I attended the DARA Conference. I really enjoyed hearing keynote speakers Richelle Mead and Allison Brennan talk about their journeys to publication.

There were also a number of workshops. I attended “Tick, Tock, Kill: The Psychology of a Killer Mind” by Margie Lawson, “Money Talks” by Lorraine Heath, an agent panel with Lucienne Diver, Beth Miller, and Suzie Townsend, “Deep Editing Power” by Margie Lawson, “Breaking Rules to Break In or Break Out” by Allison Brennan, and “Writing Body Language Like a Psychologist.

Roni Loren from Fiction Groupie wrote a great post on one of Margie Lawson’s workshops about fresh writing. Although it wasn’t a new concept, the way Margie explained it made something click for me.

Writing about a character’s response to a situation goes beyond ‘a smile’. Yet many writers stop there, he smiled, she grinned, the smile didn’t reach his eyes, held back a smile, flashed a million dollar smile…. And when overused in a story it loses its impact. Roni has great examples of “smiles” that work.

The smile should be an active part of the story, rather than just an action. I searched one of my completed manuscripts and found 53 ‘smiles’. I’m in the process of weeding out the unnecessary ones and digging deeper for the ones that can stay. I have to say, it has improved my story.

Writing is hard work and anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t doing it right.

Do your characters smile/grin too much? Did revising those sentence bring ‘freshness’ to your writing?

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6 comments on “Catching Up

  1. I’m in first draft mode so I’m trying not to sweat the smiling/grinning/laughing too much, but I’m very aware every time I type one of them– in revisions I’ll have to come up with some better ways to show they’re pleased, I think.
    – Sophia.

  2. dawnall says:

    Yes, I fear I found a few more smiles than I wanted. It was hard work weeding them out. I had to take a nap afterward…

  3. Oh no. I think you just pointed out one more thing I need to look out for in my read through. : )

  4. Kerri Cuevas says:

    Grins then smiles. LOL! Um, yup kind of guilty and one more thing I should add to my check list. Thanks for the great post!

  5. lbdiamond says:

    LOL, I have lots of menacing smiles and raised eyebrows. 😉

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