Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SRS Wednesday Whip Tip: Bruce Coville

Yes! You read correctly...BRUCE COVILLE!

Today Cuppa Jolie welcomes the amazing Bruce Coville to offer the first Wednesday Whip Tip.

Leave it to a talent and fantastic guy like Bruce to pass on a tip during a very busy time for him. And don't miss the Wednesday Whip Tip from author and readergirlz diva, Lorie Ann Grover, over at Holly's blog.

Bruce Coville is the author of nearly 100 books for children and young adults, including the international bestseller MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN, and the wildly popular UNICORN CHRONICLES series. He has been, at various times, a teacher, a toymaker, a magazine editor, a gravedigger, and a cookware salesman. He is also the founder of FULL CAST AUDIO, an audiobook publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings of material for family listening.

So, in few words, the guy ROCKS. And if you've never heard him must!

Here's a few words, straight from Bruce, on revision!

I have a list of words that I overuse in early drafts, and that generally add little of use to the text. "Just" is one, "that" is another. "Started to [verb]" and "began to [verb]" (okay, those are phrases, not words) are also there, as generally you can just go with the verb. At some point I just do a word search (in which case I would delete the just I just used!) on these words and phrases and evaluate each for elimination. No single one of these changes makes a big difference, but the cumulative effect can be a tighter, cleaner text that reads more smoothly.

Thank you, Bruce!

Don't miss tomorrow for tips from Kirby Larson and Holly's editor, Catherine Onder!


Lisa said...

Love that tip, and from such a pro! I do the same thing with my own list of words, sentence constructions, and punctuation marks (!!!) I tend to overuse. I'll do a global search & replace/delete at least once after having a full draft to work with and then again before turning it over to my editor. Knowing that step will happen (and that all those issues are easy to fix) helps me relax with the writing a bit more.

Paula Yoo said...

Thanks for the tip! My list of bad words that I have to search for and get rid of include "really" and "suddenly." LOL! BTW, I posted a new blog about my progress yesterday here:
Thanks for the whip tips!

Kjersten said...

Love all these tips and encouraging posts, Jolie! And from Bruce Coville! Thanks for the tips, Bruce. Of course with picture book writing this is a must!

BJW said...

Amen and amen. Thank you Bruce and Jolie. Bruce you are a studly writer who I look up to and a real decent guy in person. As a speaker, well, I would never ever want to follow you. Nor would anyone who had any brains.

Also I loved what you wrote for the "authors and artists for Obama thing". Touching and courageous.

Great guest Jolie! Who's next up your sleeve, Shakespeare? Oh Kirby Larson, the NEWBERY honor winner? Now you're just showing off.

Martha Brockenbrough said...

I "just" took the unnecessary "justs" out of my WIP. I shaved off almost 300 words. D'oh!

I'm going after "really" and "suddenly" next. Will there be anything left?

Suddenly, she realized her manuscript was really just crapola...

Kirby Larson said...

I cut 167 "justs" from Hattie Big Sky in the final revision! Glad to know I'm not the only one with that weakness.

Cuppa Jolie said...

I hear you...I just can't help myself!

Janine said...

I'm late to this party, but I totally agree that you can improve your manuscript by removing overused words.

I use the AutoCrit Editing Wizard to find the overused words. It's awesome. It finds a bunch of the ones that Bruce mentions, plus a bunch more.

Nic said...

A good way to discover which words you might be overusing (and learn a few other interesting things about your manuscript) is to make a word cloud out of it - I like for those.