Was

As you all know, I’m back to work on “Warder: Changing Guard”. I’m giving the manuscript one final going over before turning it over for edits.

Over the years that I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve learned a vast amount about editing. One thing that editors harp on a lot are crutch words – words that an author uses over and over and over and over and over and over again. As an author, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of using a crutch word without even realizing that you’re doing it. One major word that has been brought to my attention again and again is the word “was”. It’s use is grammatically correct. But, with a bit of reworking, just about any sentence that uses the word “was” can be rewritten to omit that word. and sound better. Some editors let “was” slide. Others don’t.

During the editing processes of my award winning, bestselling novel “Quintana Roo, Yucatan“, and my critically acclaimed novella “Quagmire Fen“, I had several discussions regarding “was”. Long story short, a lot of repetition of the word ended up being cut from both of those projects.

Now, working on “Warder: Changing Guard”, I’ve set myself a personal challenge. Thus far, I’ve held to it. The challenge? To write an entire book without relying on the word “was” even once. “Warder: Changing Guard” isn’t a long book. If it were to be published as-is, right now, it would be 100-pages-long in an over-sized 6×9 format. Still, 100 pages written without using “was” even once…

Doing this has really made me aware of how reliant I tend to be on the word. While reading the work of other authors, I find myself counting how many times they used “was” per page. Sometimes I see it multiple times in a single paragraph.

Eliminating “was” from an entire book has had an interesting effect on it. “Warder: Changing Guard” pulls the reader into things more. It’s far more active, far less passive. It’s amazing what refusing to use one single word, even one time, in a book can do for the story!

Here’s hoping that all of you like “Warder: Changing Guard” as much as I do right now!

Oh! About the length of “Warder: Changing Guard”… The plan, currently anyway, is to release each “Warder” book as an e-book only to start with. Then, when several are out, to publish several of them at a time, three or four, in paperback. An original story will likely accompany them in the paperback edition.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

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