Monday, August 31, 2015

# Mild-Mannered Mondays # Monday Musings

Weird Writing Tip #2-Type One-Handed

The second in a series where I will be dropping some Weird Writing Tips that have helped me in the past fifteen years or so of pounding out stories.

One-Handed Typing

Now I'm the first to admit this tip is super weird, even for me. Honestly, I never would have thought of trying this out even a week ago. Yeah.

Then this happened.
My new pen name: Klutzy McKlutzerton

Don't worry, nothing's broken. At least, the doctor said as much. The back of my hand is still swollen and painful nearly a week later, however, and I have to wear a splint and limit use for the time being. Which is, you know, a GREAT help when you're just back in the swing of writing and getting that word count handled. Well, I wasn't about to let this little setback interfere with my writing schedule, so I decided to peck away as best as I could--and I discovered something interesting.

First, I have to explain a little of my process. Normally, I spit out as many words as I can as fast as I can, something I learned in a "fast draft" course and perfected over years of doing the national novel challenge in November. During editing, I am then forced to deal with the hype, hyperbole, and general hyperactivity that took place in the drafting. This often means cutting out a good deal, sometimes tens of thousands of words, to get things in fighting trim. 

That said, when my hand's unscheduled time out forced me to slow down instead of pounding away Blitzkrieg-style, I found that I was being more selective in choosing my words. Word count didn't climb as fast, true, but fewer words were destined for the axe later. I was more inclined to really think about what needed to be said in a scene, and to get the right words out in a tight fashion. "Right and tight" means a lot less fat trimming on the manuscript later.

It occurred to me that this would be a good exercise for new or seasoned authors who are looking to hone and focus their word choices. Funny how life's little accidents can become our best teachers.

So the weird tip is: Type one-handed when  you need to slow down and focus on "right and tight" words.

Now I'm not suggesting that you bash the back of your hand hard on a metal pole (which may or may not have led to me sporting the single-glove look Michael Jackson made so fashionable). What you can do is set aside a time to try this exercise out. Type one-handed for an hour. Choose your words carefully, and see whether the results are more meat and less fluff. 

Have fun and have at it!

On select Mondays, I like to gab about writing or whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

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