I finished my first rough draft of An English Summer back in May of this year. Great I thought! Now I will do some editing, send it over to a beta reader and then off to a publisher. Hah...was my next thought. It is not that simple; not unless you're Clive Cussler or Emily Mah Tippetts. Then you can get away with one rough draft plus one or two edits. But not me! No, I'm a new writer and have so much to learn.
And what have I learned you ask. I learned that I have several words that I like to use repeatedly. They are: that, what and okay. I also like to use the phrase of course a lot. I did one edit where I went through and removed most of the thats and whats. Then someone in my critique group noticed I used a lot of okay. Usually that would be fine as there weren't that many of them used. The problem is, okay is a 20th Century word and my novel is set in the 19th Century. So, going through the manuscript I changed 90% of the okays to alright with the other 10% to fine. Alright did not fit every time and fine was a better choice. Not the kind of usage of fine the way a woman says it today. But more like, yes, I'm fine. So it worked out okay.
I also learned that I use a lot of compound sentences. I have attached two perfectly good sentences that can stand on their own by adding the word AND. It's unnecessary and makes me look/sound dumb. I have gone through and reworked the sentences to either stand on their own to read as one sentence to convey the message without the use of AND.
At first my two main characters were to be Magnolia and Penelope with Aspen being a side character. Turns out that Aspen pushed Penelope out of the way and took second place. She also pushes her sister around in the story. You'll have to read it find out what I mean.
So, as I work with someone on what I hope is the last edit, please get in gear to buy my book once it's published and enjoy the read.
And I really don't hate revisions. They are a necessary evil so we will get readers.
Brenda Birch Gallaher