Whether or not you're a dog owner, you'll know what I'm talking about here.
The past few months, we've had tons of snow in our part of Illinois, but thanks to the recent warmer weather and rain, most of the white stuff has disappeared.
Hidden underneath the pretty white stuff was - to put it indelicately - a lot of crap. I spent a good part of Saturday and this morning scooping it up with a shovel and depositing it into plastic garbage bags.
You may wonder how I can think of relating this nasty little chore to writing. Here goes -
After you've finished your manuscript, it may look beautiful and wonderful to you, but beware. Hidden under that false beauty can be all sorts of nasty piles of stuff that need to be removed. If you're savvy enough, you can tackle the cleanup job yourself. Otherwise, you may need the help of a critique group or editor to do the chore for you. Here are a few nasties to clean up:
Backstory dumps - Do readers really need to know right away every little thing that already happened?
Overly long descriptions - Sure, they look pretty, but do they move the story forward?
Adjectives and adverbs - They're the lazy way of writing and slow down a story. Make sure you have the best words for what you want to say, like action verbs and exact nouns.
Orphan letters - Did you start a word in your writing excitement, then begin another one without completing the first?
I told you I could do it. Never underestimate my ability to relate anything to writing. Anyway, today I'll be working on my Rascal manuscript and looking for spots to remove some of that, to put it indelicately, crap.
If you know of other hidden nasties to look for, please share with us. Or, maybe you have a dog and can relate to my chore today. (g)