I Lied

Last week I wrote about my empty calendar. And it was. And then it wasn’t. I now have Zoom meetings for church services, for the commission that’s been working for 2 years to get our church moved, for the Presbyterian Women’s Council, for our Circle, for the Outreach Committee, for Session (governing board for local Presbyterian Churches), for my live Pilates classes with my daughter, for my writing chapter, and more meetings are expected to be added in the future. As I said, I lied. 🙂

IMG_2830 New boat dock

So besides all of that, I’ve been working on Editing TAINTED, my 8th book to be released early Fall or maybe before.

Last week I did a BIAW (Book In A Week) project with Beverly Bateman. The expectation isn’t that you’d actually write a book in a week, but that you’d commit to something with your writing. I committed to working on the book for a minimum of 2 hours daily, which I did for 7 days in a row. Doesn’t seem like much and after all, what am I doing but sitting at home these days. LOL (See first paragraph)

I did get to write The End on this book. Always a fun event. At that point, the book was shorter than I like, but the story was over. Now I’ve started going through checking my Throw-Away Words list. Those are words like: so, as if, really, very, just to name a few. I have over 75 words or phrases I check for. (The original list of 40 or so words came from Margie Lawson.) With each book, I add words. It’s like with each new book, I discover a word or phrases that I fall in love with, and it/they appear(s) a lot.

IMG_2922 If you’d like a copy, let me know & I’ll email it to you.

“A lot” means I had used “so” 181 times. With rewrites I took it down to 37. Now it’s not merely removing the word, well sometimes it is that, but more often I find a better way to write the words.

So far, I’ve completed: “so” 181-37; “as” 199-93; “as if” 19-8; “really” 81-3; “very” 40-3; “just” 150-? and I haven’t yet finished with “just.”

In making these changes, the book has grown from 61,000 words to 63,000 words. The opposite of what you might expect when you remove words. What this process forces me to do is look at bits and pieces of the text from many different perspectives. This is tedious work, but necessary to improve the book. I take comfort from the John Michener quote: I am not a very good writer, but I’m a very good re-writer. “So,” I will do the tedious work.

All of the words on my list of 75 are not words I regularly now use. And even “very” is down to sneaking in only 40 times. As I’ve used this process, I’ve internalized some of the concepts, and those words either don’t show up any more or not as many times as they did at first.

IMG_2921 Sailboats out on Wednesday

We are having beautiful weather and the boat dock is calling me outside. The soft breezes are seductive. Every once of stress drains away. Feels great but doesn’t get the book finished.

IMG_2897 Recent tuna fish salad lunch

I’m shooting to finish by the end of April, first of May and could use a few more Beta Readers to take a look before I send the manuscript to a professional editor. I have one Beta Reader already. (Thank you, Julie Miers.) If you volunteer, it would be nice if you enjoy reading romantic suspense. I had a sweet volunteer one time who said after reading the book, she didn’t like the murder in the book. With romantic suspense, you can expect to get danger, maybe even murder and some sex on a continuum from suggested to graphic. My sex scenes have grown less graphic as I’ve written. But it depends on the characters and the story. Email me if you’d like to take a look at this book before it’s been fully edited. I’m not asking you to edit. I am asking you: Does it make sense? Is it believable? Do you like the characters? Does anything jar you out of the story? General stuff like that. 

IMG_2909 (1)

How are you surviving the stay at home orders? We’ve got masks now and use them if we go out. Oh, not to walk Charley in the neighborhood, but to pick up groceries or meals. Are you wearing masks? We have member of our church and her family who have the virus. She’s a police officer and is thankfully recovering. Her husband is now down with it. Pray for all medical personnel and first responders of any kind, including the grocery workers.

Stay home. Be safe. Be well. Love to hear from you.

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Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest





4 responses to “I Lied

  1. Those zoom meetings & webinars can sure break up the day! I’ve really enjoyed seeing friends & coworkers. Really looking forward to sitting on the new dock with & having a glass of wine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Julie, yes I love Zoom. We get a lot done safely. Can’t wait for you to be able to sit on the dock enjoying a glass of wine. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂


  2. Hey Marsha… a lot counts for two words…lol!! 🙂

    Someone should go over Trump’s speeches and remove the word “very”. As an added bonus, they would be much shorter. Listening to him speak, I’ve actually gotten to hate the word “very”.

    I’ve been writing more consistently than I ever have since Bill retired four years ago because of staying in due to the coronavirus. I plan on stopping at 5 revisions for the mystery I’m working on. I have just finished revision 2 of Chapter 12 of 20 chapters. I’ve done several more revisions on previous books.

    We do wear masks when out to a grocery store and I wear gloves. We bought enough food last Thursday to last about 3 weeks. I think we have been eating healthier with better meals by not going out to restaurants. Although we do one pickup at a restaurant a week.

    We have masks from when we took care of our youngest grandchild after he started daycare. He was sick and had IVs in the hospital. When he came home, we took care of him and wore masks the entire day except for when we were in the bedroom at night. Eventually his parents also became sick. It was good that we were there.

    We are thankful for all of those helping out with the coronavirus virus, who are putting their lives on the line.

    Take good care and best wishes with your manuscript. 🙂

    Happy Easter!


  3. Hey, Susan. I try not not listen to him, but now I’ll have to check on very. Along with all the other superlatives he uses. LOL. When you’re doing your revisions, do you look for different things on each of those run throughs? I know some folks do that. (I “just” took “some” from 96 to 12. Making progress up to 63,740 words. I may “actually” get to 70 K. We’ll see. Glad you had masks already, They are important and I think will be “even” after we’re released from this stay in place order. Absolutely, Susan. So grateful for all those fighting on the front lines including our grocery store workers. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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