It’s a Wild, Wild Writing Life

I wish my words were like David Kracov’s butterflies . . .

Oh, I am more than a little frustrated as a writer right now.

As I transcribe ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part onto digital format from its pink typewritten pages, I see the powerful language from the Dome Trilogy is just not there. The richness of my vocabulary is missing. I use weak and general verbs instead of strong verbs. I use passive voice too often instead of using it to add to the novel’s varied sentence structure.

Of course, I could simply be second-guessing my own writing because I have access to so many rules about writing for a reading public. I want to be the best writer I can be. The ideas are there; the creativity is there; the story is there. Maneuvering it from mind to manuscript is the challenge.

Grammar is Magic!

It’s time to return the magic of grammar to my writing. Do I trust my writer’s voice? In some ways I do. However, I see the signs of writing burnout in the story weaving. I see the signs of writing burnout on Twitter. I spend more time grinding down sentences, looking at them with a leery scowl and suspicious eye. I know something in my current writing voice is amiss, and I feel anxiety that I will miss one of the most basic grammar oopsies and send it off to publication with a cheery titter. I do not look forward to seeing massive errors in my published work, ones which I know I should have caught in a final polish.

Errors in a finished and disseminated manuscript are like driving at nighttime past a giant video billboard on a freeway. Temporarily blinded, I can do nothing more than feel frustrated and curse myself for putting myself out there when I should have known better.

So, today I will give myself an early holiday gift. I will visit the library and retrieve books which won’t influence my plot. I will check out a lovely assortment of grammar and sentence structure and writing practice books. I will consume them like a starving author, and I will enjoy every morsel in this feast of form and function for fiction.

I am a writer. Published or not, I am a writer. Completed novels pile higher every year. All need some TLC to be worthy of publication. Right now, the Cryptid Series has my attention. It’s a good story entering an inundated market, just tangential enough that I believe it may stand out. I believe in the story. I believe it deserves the best of me as a writer.

I believe in it so much that I am taking a break to brush up on the fundamentals of grammar and sentence structure. It’s a good day to be a writer, if only because I know tomorrow can be a better writing day.


Last-minute, I want to shout-out to author JMD Reid for an inspirational entry on his web journal site, The Storm Below. I consider this a must-read for all fiction writers:

“WHAT SHOULD YOU WRITE?” (04 August 2014)

9 thoughts on “It’s a Wild, Wild Writing Life”

  1. Thanks for the shout out!

    I’m in the middle of readying my novel for beta readers. The novels has grown larger than I want it to be and I’m looking at every word, sentence, and clause wondering “Do you need to be here?”

    Good luck on your upcoming release, Jessica.


      1. I fixed it on the admin side. Didn’t want you fretting over that extra S.

        I empathize about that type of slash-and-burn editing. I had to do that for Solaray Dawn. If I didn’t understand the sentence, or if a scene didn’t add to the plot? The sentence or scene was slashed.


      2. And mine’s a fantasy book with a world very different from ours. So I need to introduce the world and sell it as being real while moving the plot along and not overloading with exposition.


  2. Thanks so much for visiting my blog earlier this week! I loved this entry and totally commiserate. I really liked this line in the post: “I will enjoy every morsel in this feast of form and function for fiction” and love your idea of brushing up on grammar. Also awesome how you included the Grammar is Magic clip. LOVED it. 🙂


    1. Thank you, Cindy!

      I am a bit of a grammar nerd, and I feel a sense of victory when I master some grammar rule. I want to write more than just interesting stories; I want to build them on a strong and aesthetic trellis. I’m glad you liked the Friendship is Magic themed video of MC Frontalot’s “Tongue-Clucking Grammarian.”


  3. Well, you can try my guest blog, “Resolved: 15 Good Writing Habits to Pick Up in 2015 (Guest Blog by Jess Alter)”, on Jane Bled’s blog here:

    The two biggest rules I can recommend: (1) Never make story edits while you’re writing the initial draft and (2) keep copies of the first draft and every revision after it. In my current work in progress, the emotional energy was dead in a couple of scenes; the initial first draft had the pop and vivid imagery I needed to revive those scenes. With a little editing, I was able to plug in the scenes and ended up with both clarity and energy.


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