Writing the first chapter is equivalent to a first date. First impressions are everything and you, the writer, are subject to some intense scrutiny. But how do you know if you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s? Chapter one will make or break our book. If we get it wrong, the first chapter might be the only chapter of our book anyone reads. Here’s a guide for what to include in your first chapter.
In speech, filler words are short, meaningless words (or sounds) we use to fill the little pauses that occur while we decide what we’re going to say next. They’re the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ and ‘ers’ that litter our conversations, whether or not we like it. But although these brief filler words don’t add any meaning to your statements, they perform a function in speech. They allow you to take a second and think about what you’re going to say next. They let others know that you’re not quite finished speaking yet, even if you’ve paused for a moment.
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Filler Words in Writing
Filler words take a distinct form in writing. Few of us actually write out “uh” or “um” when we’re composing an email. Instead, those little pauses manifest as unnecessary adverbs and empty phrases that add length but not substance to what you’re trying to say. Fortunately, written communication gives us the opportunity to edit ourselves before we send our message out to the world.
Filler words are words that add no meaning or value to a sentence and simply “fill” the space. They can be removed or replaced, but often inadvertently creep up in writing since we’re so used to using them in our speech. Having too many filler words decreases the readability of your manuscript, making it hard for the reader to engage in the action, plot, and characters of your story.
Below are examples of the most common filler words, according to InfusionMedia.
Most filler words are adverbs and adjectives. How do we cut them from our Manuscript? Use William Zinsser’s technique and read your sentences aloud. Note the rhythm and sound. Do your adverbs and adjectives overpower your verbs? Then get rid of the adverbs and adjectives. The action is what’s important.
Wordy: For all intents and purposes, this project will be outsourced.
Concise: This project will be outsourced.
Wordy: Needless to say, I think we should get grilled cheese.
Concise: We should get grilled cheese.
Basically is a filler word that appears both in speech and writing. We often use basically when we’re exaggerating for effect or making a statement that is generally true but may have some rare exceptions. Sometimes basically is an important qualifier, but often, it’s clear from context that you’re not making a claim of absolute truth.
Okay: Basically, I could eat ice cream for any meal. Better: I could eat ice cream for any meal.
Check out some of your recent emails. Do you tend to use the word just a lot? Is it just a way to make things sound more polite? Do you like to just follow up on things? Is there anything you were just wondering? Try deleting this one from your sentences and seeing if there’s really a difference in meaning. Most of the time, you’ll find there’s not.
Okay: Could you just send me that file when you have a moment? Better: Could you send me that file when you have a moment?
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We reach for adverbs like very, greatly, and highly to add intensity, but the truth is that these words are so overused that readers tend to gloss right over them. You’re better off picking a more vivid word to describe what you’re talking about.
Okay: The new pizza place downtown was very busy this afternoon. Better: The new pizza place downtown was bustling this afternoon.
Needless to say
If it’s really needless to say, why say it? If it does need to be said, don’t undercut yourself!
Okay:Needless to say, my haircut looked awful. Better: My haircut looked awful.
For what it’s worth
We tend to fall back on this phrase when we want to make a point but we’re not sure if others will be happy about it. Leave it out and your sentence will be more concise and sound more confident.
Okay:For what it’s worth, we could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward. Better: We could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward.
Read your book aloud. It stops the skimming over filler words and slows down the reading pace to let you find those filler words. Below, I have a list of other filler words to spot in your manuscript. Until next time, keep your words sharp and sword sheathed.
If you like what you read, if you have questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question, or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.
You’ve finally decided to start writing a book, and you’re pumped about it. You’re confident your book is going to be one of the greatest written works in literary history. But when you consider actually starting the process, you feel stuck. Now what?
Everyone has their distinct writing style. Some gush out words to create a lengthy and very rough draft, while others agonize over every single word and sentence. Certain writers start at page one, while others create the body first and then fill in the intro later. Some aren’t even sure what genre they want to follow until they’ve hashed out several pages.
You’ll run into obstacles as you embark on your writing journey, so here are 8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book.
When you go to start your novella, remember it’s important to appreciate the form. It would be premature to start to craft your own story without first reading a collection of novellas and taking stock of elements that appeal to you. Once you feel like you have a sense of the form, it’s time to start writing. Below are SEVEN TIPS that helped me and hopefully, they help you finish your novella.
Last year I self-published my novella, Shadow Of The Wicked, since then I’ve had a lot of readers asking me why I chose to write a novella, and how to write one. I’ve created a quick and general guideline for writing a novella. I say generally because, like all writing principles, they are subject to change.
I’ve been writing this blog on and off for several years. I admit I go through waves of regularly pushing content and total absence.
Throughout blogging, I always start with the ‘why’. Why did I start my blog? Usually, the ‘why’ is what helps me push out content. The answer typically falls into these 8 points as to why I started this blog. If you’ve been on the fence about starting a blog, see if any of my reasons below can help you decide
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been working on the final edits (I hope) of my book, To Wield The Stars, and during this process, I’ve learned a lot about how to prepare the manuscript so my editor can focus on the content.
Before I jump into it, I want to remind you that
SHADOW OF THE WICKED is available for $0.99 for a LIMITED TIME, so if you haven’t got it, below is the link to download your copy today.
It’s been very quiet here on my blog, but I assure you, I have been busy with projects outside writing.
Over the past couple of months I have been mostly working, renovating our home and spending quality time with my family. I also took a step back in my marketing plan for Shadow Of The Wicked to see how the organic sales, as I felt like I had done a lot of the ground working to keep the sales trickling in.
I only send one letter on the 4th of every month, so it won’t overload your inbox. But it will give you the first insight on my books, as well as early or exclusive access to content, which I am happy to announce some really big news but you have to subscribe to my newsletter to receive it.
REMEMBER SHADOW OF THE WICKEDis available on Amazon. Read the FREE preview below and get your copy today!
Since publishing Shadow Of The Wicked, I’ve had a lot of people asking me why I chose to write a novella instead of a full-length novel. I’ve had people suggesting it to be too much effort, or was I looking for a specific target audience. The truth to why is below but first, if you’re new to this term novella, I’ll discuss what it is and then answer, why I chose to write one.