• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

The 7 Evil Dwarves are back with a new Swamp! #7EDs

On the tail end of our journey through the writing workshops over the last month, I wanted to see if you all have checked out the reswampped home of the 7 Evil Dwarves (www.7evildwarves.com)? We’ve added some new stops.

Since I spent most of June doing writer marketing stuff, release stuff, and setting things into place for the second PSY-IV Team book, I also threw in remodeling my site, which in turn bled over into reswammping the 7ED site. We’ve let the mud creep up over the last few months. Some of the dwarves have huddled inside their shacks refusing to venture out into the common areas, so we as a group decided it was time to get ourselves back in shape. (Okay, yes, maybe I pushed…a little…with a bulldozer…but the results are worth it, right?)

To ensure we stay on track, we set up a new blog schedule. Every day a dwarf will post. Doesn’t matter how long or short, they will post so our visitors know we aren’t a ghost swamp.

We added a page listing all our author interviews (in alpha order, because my CDO kicked in). These interviews are us asking writers we admire questions, so check out the list and feel free to spend some time in the Swamp Guest Archives tab.

You’ll notice we number a bit more than 7, but we have a couple of dwarves who hold honorary positions, so we’re not kicking them out. We each have a page, so take the time to give the hairy eyeball to each one.

There’s a tab–Writings of the Dwarves–this is a must see. Here you will find all our literary accomplishments, along with links to access them. Our goal, to add a few more names and titles by this time next year.

You’ll notice there’s a tab titled, SWAMP TALES. This requires constant checking because we have gathered around the campfire and began a story–just for you readers. Each of us takes a piece in round robin format. Of course, at the time of writing this post, it’s a bit snarly, but I’m sure we’ll find our way out…soon…or else!

Then there’s another page for all those writers out there who are looking for some helpful sites and communities. Doesn’t matter your genre, feel free to click and play.

Take your time, mosey around my place (www.jamigray.com) and check out the first chapter of each book, sign up for my newsletter. (So far, I’ve only sent out one and I’ll probably send one more out later this year, which means, that’s what? Two a year. Shouldn’t crowd your in-box too much.) Then check out the nooks and crannies at the Swamp.

Let us know what’s working, what isn’t, and what you might expect but didn’t find.


Hellos and Goodbyes…

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the Swamp and her inhabitants. Today I thought you might like to take a peek into our little farewell get together for Mighty, who shall remain with us via the technology gods until her return, and meet our newest member…

Wicked: *shoving Might’s duffle on to the back of the lopsided jackass*  Why the hell are you going to the Windy City? Between the Werewolf Monks and Eerie’s Free Range Zombies, I would’ve thought we had enough drama for you.

Mighty:*stashing her Staff of Bull Shark Repellent*  You know how it is, money’s a little tight and those Bull Sharks aren’t going to leave the lake any time soon. I’m just going to make sure they don’t pass beyond where they’re allowed.

Snarky: *lazily curling and uncurling her whip*  I can whip them into shape.

Mighty: *look of indulgent disdain*  Your whip is not going to reach.

*Overhead Mischievous calls out*:  Hey Mighty, you ready to lose a few fingers and toes?  The temps over there will keep you in deep freeze.  *He cackles at his lame attempt at humor*

Mighty: *rolling her eyes across the road. Picks them up and puts them back in*:  That bird would be great fried.

Wicked: *grinning in agreement, even as the Prankster Duo comment on Mighty’s gory trick*  Yeah, but I think Eerie might take exception to our meal plans.

Eerie: *taking his Free Range Zombies for a walk with chains and a pointy stick*  What meal plans? The Werewolf Monks have been promising me a new vintage, I could pester them for it.

*A cloud of smoke drifts over* Smokey: “Just took down a mastodon over by Swamp Thing’s place. It’s been smoking nicely for the last few days. I’ll have my Spicy Bit bring it over. We don’t want you heading off without a full belly, Mighty.

Quirky: *practicing knots with some newly purchased ropes*  The Muses headed out a few hours ago, so we could probably hang over at Filet Your Own Deli without worrying about another knock down drag out argument over the use of details or lack thereof.

Dreamer *arms full of colorful blooms and Angel Boy fluttering around her ankles*  What about your cabin, Mighty? Do you need someone to pop in and keep an eye on things for you?

Mighty: *the smirk we all know and love but have learned to be wary of appears* Nah, I forgot to mention I found someone to cabin sit while I’m gone.  That way it’ll still be standing, Zombie Free, when I get back.

Dreamer *beatific smile appears* It’s so nice to have new blood in the community.  So much to play with…*a small blush*  I mean, perhaps they’ll have new playmates for Angel Boy.  *Turns to Wicked and Snarky*  No offense girls, but I believe your progeny may be perhaps a bit too adventurous for mine right now.

Wicked & Snarky exchange high fives.  

Wicked: None taken…

Snarky:  So this new peep.  What’s the deal? Who are they? Where are they from? Most importantly, can they pass the Swamp Entry Exam?

*A loud pop and a blue telephone booth appears and settles in the road. Red Dwarf steps out

Red: Good eve, all, I thought I’d pop in before tea to bid Mighty adieu.  

*A small blond races from behind Red and joins forces with the Prankster Duo, where upon a discussion of how Yoda took down Darth in this year’s Star Wars March Madness*

Red: Did I hear something about an entrance exam? I thought we’d straightened that out months ago.  Besides, I don’t see any dead bodies lying around. Everyone’s here–Snarky, Wicked, Smokey, Quirky, Eerie, Dreamer, Mighty, myself…doesn’t that put us one over?

Eerie *capturing a wondering single hand and wrestling it back in line*  Even though you’re over the Pond and Mighty will soon be in the Land of Winds and You-betchas, we’ve decided to allow one more individual into the group.

Quirky:  We did? When?

Wicked: It was during the brawl over at the Kilted Ferret pub when we had to hold off that damn Molly and her two henchboys from Eerie’s Three Misfiteers.  

Quirky: *flying fingers and rope pause before continuing their dizzy dance*  Oh yeah.  So, who is the new person?

Mighty: *tossing another package on top of the lopsided jackass* I’d introduce you all, but she’s been here the whole time, so I ‘ll let her do the honors.

*All seven dwarves start checking out their surroundings*

Eerie: Short? Tall? Gnome? Troll? What exactly are we looking for here? And a name would be good.

*Mighty smiles and continues to finish her packing*

*From behind him a shadow separates and forms into a petite, lithe form*  Names are not to be given lightly, small man.

Eerie: *huffs up to his full three foot one inch height* Who you calling small?

Wicked: *arms folded so knives are in easy reach* Nice move there, I need to introduce you to Raine.

Snarky: *lets her whip snap, crackle and pop*  And you would be…

*Shadow girl drops a very elegant bow* I am called Ninja Dwarf.

Quirky: *looking intrigues*  Wow! Totally cool, we get our very own ninja!

Life Interruptus…

I managed to drag and beat into a readable pulp a whole whopping SEVENpages of book 3.  I spent backbreaking hours sucking back frappacinnos as I hunched over my most precious Macbook Air with my ears plugged into my current playlist to bring those pages into the world kicking and screaming.  Exhausted I went home, corralled the Prankster Duo and knight in slightly muddy armor from the hypnotic trance of the latest video craze of SWTOR and we were sitting around the table to enjoy the wonderful world of Pizza Hut, when an almight noise emerged from the night.

Knight and I jumped up, grabbed our sharp pointy and edgy things, set the hellhound to watch the Duo and emerged onto the porch.  The unholy wails were coming from Eerie’s side of our little enclave.  For a moment I was worried his undead pets had slipped their leashes, but it was much, much worse than that.

Eerie’s got a steady head on his shoulders…most times, so this very explosively loud outburst was not normal.  In our Swamp not normal generally means mud is about to hit the fan.  I left Knight to stand guard and slid into the early evening to find out what the hell was going on.  It wasn’t long before Snarky and her whip were imitating a shadow to my left and Quirky and his quarterstaff took his spot on my left.  That pompous soon-to-be-new-pair-of-boots, aka Mr. C. Dial was lounging in his front yard, tsking about how he had been told this was such a nice neighborhood, such a pity. 

Ignoring him, our little trio made it to Eerie’s place to find Smokey trying to force a bowl of…well…something into Eerie’s shaking hands. The poor guy looked like a magnitude 10.0 was happening under his hairy feet.  A whisper of sound announced Jedi’s arrival and down the trodden path a pair of headlights bounced our way.  Great, the Muses were heading in.  Good grief, it was a frickin’ party!

It took a bit, but we finally got Eerie to tell us what was up. 

Mischevious was gone…flown the coop…flocked away!

His collection of shiny bits was still scattered around his perch, and we couldn’t finop…flocked away.

d any sign of forcible abuduction, but Eerie’s convinced he’s been raven-napped.  He’s even posted a rewarde for info.

Suspects are not exactly littering the ground, but personally, after seeing the little tete-a-tee between our Raven and Pompous Ass, it wouldn’t surprise me if that walking luggage set had something to do with it.  I told the old man with the tool belt to take a break on the flask thing and sent my muse with him to go listen to the talk down at the Swamp Shack.  Maybe we’d get lucky and the two of them will hear something.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my eye on that yes-man down the road, just in case. 

If you have any info on Mischevious, do me a favor and let Eerie know? He’s at 777-7777.

As for the writing thing, as I trudged home it hit me, those seven pages…yeah, they weren’t going to work.  During the walk home, I steamed and stewed but at least I know where I’m going to actually start now. Problem is, Shadow’s Soul needs to make it’s way to my editor.  I haven’t been very good at multi-tasking with this third book, so as frustrating as it is, it’s going to the back burner while I stop procrastinating and buckle down for editing hell.  A few more tweaks and it should be a done deal.  Then on to book 3….


Holiday Merriment with the 7 Evil Dwarves

Once again the 7 Evil Dwarves gathered around the Swamp Gas Fire and exchanged annual gifts of merriment.  Not only is it the one time of the year we cut Smokey a break and bring in our own nourishment, but we also drag along significant others.  Since the Prankster Duo was busy gutting bits of wire and plastic with other miniature humans, my knight in slightly muddy armor and I loaded up with essentials and headed out to trek on over to Smokey’s place.

Me-“Did you get the pies?”

Him-“Yeah. You didn’t have to make them did you?”

Me *snort*- “Please, if the other six wanted to experience a near death experience they’d go taunt Eerie’s Zombies.  I picked those up from Knaves’ End.”

Him *looking very relieved*–“Great.”

We added a couple of new cold steel blades to our outfits, grab the gaily wrapped gifts, leave the hellhound half a boar and some water, set the perimeter defenses and headed down the road. We passed Sunny’s place where a veil of mist swirled in a thick mass.  Poor Sunny, we’ve been trying to get supplies through, but the black hole of chaos is holding her under siege.  We’re going to have to send in a search and rescue team soon and drag her back out.

The cackling of Mischievous’ laughter rings out from above while the moans and shrieks of the Swamp Thing trail behind him.  I can’t quite make out what he has clutched in his talons, but it’s shiny.  One day, the Swamp Thing is going to use him as her Thanksgiving centerpiece.

We pass by the Filet Your Own Deli where my Muse is enjoying her time off and playing a game with the white haired guy sporting a tool belt.  I can see the flash of blades in-between the smack of cards being slapped upside foreheads.  There’s a hungry, evil smile gracing her pale face that sends shivers down my spine, but the old guy just bares his teeth, takes a swig from the old flask at his side and flicks another battered card on the scarred table.  I shake my head as we continue on.

The snap of leather snaking through the air sends me into an instinctive crouch.  Belatedly, I realize that Snarky is just testing out her new bullwhip.  Grumbling softly, I straighten and get a good look at her newest accessory.  Purple…niiiicceee.  I might have to find out where she got that one.

Snarky *checking out the pies in knight in slightly muddy armor arms*–“That better be chocolate.”

Me-“As if there’s any other kind.”

Snarky *narrowing eyes*- “You have two?”

Me – “Nah, offering second option for those of us who OD on sugar today. Sugar Free Apple.”

Snarky *waving a dismissive hand*–“I’ll stick with chocolate.”  A sharp squeal comes from inside her house, and the smile that appears is the same one I’ve seen right before she hands me back my drafts dripping in red. “I need to go check on the ham. See you soon!”

A little further down the road, we pull up short as we watch Eerie fighting over a bottle of Werewolf Hunter’s Moon red with a fairly persistent pair of Zombie twins.

Eerie–“Let go you brainless lump of flesh! Even if your brain was working you couldn’t appreciate this vintage.”

It’s entertaining watching the on-going struggle between my short friend and the Brainless Wonder Duo.  The scuff of boots against gravel announce the arrival of Quirky, Jedi and her other half.

Quirky–“Who’s winning?”

Me-“Not sure yet.”

Jedi-“I’ll put ten on the twins.”

Quirky-“You’re on.”

Me *thinking about the last time Eerie got cornered by the horde*–“I think I’ll just watch.”

Eerie–“A little help here!”

Knight in slightly muddy armor–“I don’t know, this is kind of fun to watch.”

Before anyone else can move, a black feather dive bomber manages to distract Twin 1 by introducing talons to eyeballs.  I grimace.  Those stains are never going to come out.

Me-“Have you considered enrolling your horde in Zombie training courses, Eerie?”

Eerie-“What are they going to teach them? They already know drop dead, gnaw and claw.”

I take the pies from my knight–“We’re going to be late.  Go help.”

He takes out his shiny new sword and cuts the legs out from under Twin 2. Literally.

Eerie stumbles back and cradles his bottle carefully. Smoothing down one of many flyway strands of hair, he’s all dignity.  “Thank you.”

We make it to Smokey’s door without further incidents and his lovely Italian counterpart welcomes us into their home.  The next few hours pass in a blissful haze of food, friends and laughter.  Gifts are exchanged, stories are shared and barbs are traded.

Remember during this busy season–this is what makes the holidays–laughter, love and friendship.

Treasure yours as I do mine!

Merry Holidays everyone!


Happy Thanksgiving…7ED Style

It’s the time of year when everyone does the Why I am Thankful blogs, so I thought I’d join along in my own unique way.

Here in the Swamp there are many things to be thankful for this year.  Let’s begin, shall we?

I am thankful for…

…the Prankster Duo.  Who else in my life would make me consider the deep, dark mysteries of the world  with  such scintillating conversation gambits such as:

                “Mom, can I borrow Siri for a second?”

“I need to look up a word.”

“What word?”


Startled silence… “Why?”

“My friend said he did and it was ‘an explosive sensation from between his legs’.”

I try really hard not to hit my brakes and cause a five car pile-up as I try to find air to drag into my lungs.  My precious 9 year old…oh dear…. “Um, honey, perhaps you should think of another definition.”


Right, how to answer this one without him thinking his mother is a pervert…oh wait…. “Okay, because that definition could be interpreted in a way you would find really gross.  How about  ‘explosive flatulence’?

“Hmm…okay…should I ask why it would gross me out?”

“It has to do with boys and girls…”
“Okay enough said, I’ll stick with ‘explosive flatulence’.”

…my knight-in-slightly-muddy-armor who has stayed beside me while Eerie’s Zombie’s have trashed our yard and the hellhound has seeded the same yard with many landmines.  Not only has he braved that terror, but he has successfully save many an electronic devices from being tested for aerodynamic properties when they refuse to cooperate with me.  Considering how often that temptation occurs, he’s my hero, because recovering drafts from broken pieces of plastic and wires is really hard!

…my hellhound, without whom my floors would not hold themselves down, but float away into oblivion.  Only he could figure out the strategic points that will keep them grounded and still manage to be where ever I have to walk.

…Starbucks and the lovely baristas, because they have saved many an unsuspecting person from violent death while supplying me with my needed caffeine fix that makes sure all my edged accessories stay sheathed!

…Snarky and her bloody whip.  Let’s be honest, without the combo of the two there’s no way I would have dredged up enough courage and armor to brave the pit of submission hell and finally, FINALLY got a contract!

…Eerie, Mischievous Raven and the herd of corpses that tend to trample my lawn.  Not only has he obtained some seriously good wine from the Werewolf monks, but he shines forth humor in the darkest moments and that is truly priceless.

…Quirky for reminding me why cynicism is not always the best thing to use for protection.  His ability to strip down situations to bare bones makes him invaluable to the Evil 7.  Beside it’s fun to watch him squirm!

…Smokey and his fabulous recipes.  However, I’m still not to sure about the octopus and whatever that was that one time in the Swamp where he and Eerie got together.  Strange, but if you don’t tell me what it is, I won’t think about it! It’s nice to know that even if you can’t pronounce character names, you can cook!

…Jedi and her bravery.  I mean, really, think about it.  How brave would you be to walk into a steamy Swamp filled with gods-only-know-who, talk to the short. stumpy guy with the beady eyed raven trying to pry a zombie arm from the Swamp Thing while the Prankster Duo goes screaming by with some weird contraption spitting flame, while Snarky tries to hold back the horde parked outside her porch with a 12 foot whip?  Really, our neighborhood doesn’t need a watch, more like napalm.  We’re glad you survived the welcoming committee and decided to stay!

…BFF, Ang, because who else would dare take me to a move about a sparkling vampire who hatches kids from eggs and an alpha wolf that doesn’t kill for leadership and can’t pronounce his someday mate’s name, and then let me go Science Mystery Theater on it for two hours.  She even held back the prepubescent horde armed with lip-gloss and sparkle and their mothers from trampling me under their keds.  Only a BFF like that can be trusted at your back.

…to all of you for taking the time to follow along, even when the insanity that lives inside me spews outward!


Gender and Era Understanding

The Seven Evil Dwarves are a very diverse writing group. It is balanced between four fabulous females and three manly, but short, dwarves—of course. More strikingly, our ages span the twenty something’s, the thirty something’s, the forty something’s, the fifty something’s, and the sixty something.

Why is this important, or even interesting?

It is probably interesting because we are such a close group despite the diversity and age differences.

It is important in a writing group because we want to write our stories so they make sense to everyone.

As an example, at our last critique meeting I submitted a chapter that described a pickup truck as having a 4″ lift kit. The ladies in our group had no idea what I was talking about and wanted to know what it was. After a brief discussion around the table, it was determined that only an ancient male dwarf with an automotive bent would understand the reference. It necessitated the revision of the short phrase to a paragraph long description of a truck, raised higher off the ground so it will clear bigger bumps when driving off road. Now all the readers will be able to visualize the truck. You’ve seen the type of truck I’m getting at. So high off the ground you could almost walk under it.

Other references to period or modern phrases which don’t have general, or wide usage by today’s readers are also caught—usually to the dismay of our older un-named writers.

It turns out many things in our own lives and experiences are not general knowledge for the rest of the world. It is important, therefore, to seek out first readers or critique groups which have the diversity to catch the odd 4″ lift kit.

Happy Writing

So How’s that Journaling Working Out?

Well…I have to admit I’m not fully up to speed yet, but I’m working on it. It’s interesting how ideas develop as you talk to yourself on the printed page. Playing what if with pen or pencil is enlightening. When a crap idea pops up, it’s easy enough to either destroy it or ignore it. Scratching lines through it is satisfying.

When the germ of a good idea pops up, it invariably leads to further ideas. Mashing around in ‘idea land’ is much easier than trying to work out the same ideas in your manuscript. It can be a real pain to get 5,000 words down a path and find out it’s not working.

One handy thing I found about keeping a journal is a list of words. Like most writers, I’m constantly coming across words I’d like to use in the future. In the past, I’d always noted the word and committed it to memory. You probably know how well that works. Now, in the back of my current journal, I jot the words down along with various meanings. Haven’t used any yet on my WIP, but I know it will come in handy in the future.

So…journaling is growing on me.


Chickens and Eggs

When I first started writing, what plopped down first in my imagination was story, or plot arc. Initially, I would populate the story with off-the-shelf characters and jump into the tale. As one might imagine, this lead to a death-spiral of problems beyond even a gifted writer’s ability to save. What I knew about my main character amounted to the path through the story he or she needed to take. I knew even less about the other main characters. They were just there to fill in the blanks in a cardboard sort of way.

My characterizations were shallow at best and the areas where character motivations crossed were almost entirely lacking. Without those intersecting motivations and goals, my subplots almost didn’t exist.

Fortunately for me, Snarky (our tallest dwarf), referred me to a book by Debra Dixon called GMC, or Goal Motivation and Conflict. During our recent writing retreat up in the mountains, I was able to read and absorb the ideas put forth by Ms. Dixon. To put it bluntly, it was a revelation of the many things I was doing wrong. I had no idea what my heroes wanted out of the story or why they wanted to participate.

Knowing a character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts eases the development of plot. You know there are certain things which must happen in the story. It also helps greatly with foreshadowing and red herrings.

What does this all mean? For one thing, fewer rewrites and going back to plug in information you missed the first time through. It also keeps your characters on track according to their GMC.

Chickens or eggs? Well, what works for me is both. An idea about the plot/story and a lot of character building, then back and forth. It’s an ongoing process.

Perhaps a little slower to get your first draft finished, but a quicker way to get that final draft.

PS: If you’re interested in the book by Debra Dixon, the lowest price I’ve found for it is at: http://www.gryphonbooksforwriters.com/ The cost there is $19.95 and it’s 57.99 at Amazon.


Greetings once again my my loyal minions,

Mischievous and I are grateful to be home.  The Zombies are looking a little haggard, I’m thinking that Wicked’s Prankster  Duo might have taken a toll on them in my absence.

The 7 Evil Dwarves first annual writing retreat was a huge success.  Situated in the White Mountains, deep in troll country, we convinced our muses to buckle down and get the word count soaring.  When we arrived we had enough electronic gear to launch a space shuttle.  Yet, I believe if the power went out we would have been scratching away with pens and paper.  It was very intense.  We squeezed in lots of good food and fellowship along the way.  Every now and then someone would say something like “I need a smell, or what would you call a flesh eating humanoid, ect.”  Random answers bounced off the high ceiling of our cabin in response.

When the evening wound down we’d take a break in the hot tub and compare notes.  Then back to the keyboards where we worked until well past dark-thirty.  Of course some of us are more resilient than others and speaking for myself, well I’ve got to get my rest if I’m expected to look this good everyday.  Writing is not for the faint of heart.

I am both blessed and proud to be a member of such a dedicated and generous critique group.  My writing partners are my friends, and I count myself one, very fortunate writer to be able to sit amongst them.  When I do my daily devotions I always thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon this sinner.  My friends are always on that list.

When Sunday rolled around we packed up mission control.  Mixed emotions abounded as we were sad to be leaving and looking forward to getting home to our loved ones at the same time.  It took us several years of planning to actually make this happen, but I know everyone is already thinking about next year.

As is my custom I  leave you with a quote this one is from, Richard Bach.

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

Write On,


Back to Troll Mountain

Welcome my friends, once again we are not at home.  No sooner did Mischievous and I arrive back at our beloved Swamp, when we find ourselves off again with most of the dwarves in tow.  It appears that while Mischievous and I were running for our lives the rest of the crew decided they wanted a little adventure too.  So, Snarky, Wicked, Smokey, Quirky, and all of our muses are headed out to commune with the writing Gods.  We are going to seek out those sneaky adverbs and adjectives where they hide and eradicate them.  Smash sentence fragments and put those commas in their place.  Envious aren’t you.  Maybe you didn’t know that writing could be so much fun.  So as I look out over the troll ravaged mountain the  I can see the trolls pacing around below us.  The muses already told them, if they want to see a real can of whoop ass, just come on by.  Thus far they’ve elected to leaves us to write in peace.

This weeks topic is about excess words.  Here are some pearls that are loosely tossed about in writing circles.  “Write Tight,” William Brohaugh; “Omit needless words, and Vigorous writing is concise,” Strunk and White;  “Superfluous words and phrases soften prose,” Sol Stein.

All of these phases have been lifted from chapters dealing with adverbs and adjectives.  “Adjectives and adverbs often weaken their subjects,” Noel Lukeman.  Of course killing off every modifier in your prose is not the answer to tight, concise, sharp, focused writing either. As in the example set in the last sentence, more is less.  Here I need to select the strongest and most appropriate adverb.  One is sufficient.  Concise seems to be the easy winner here as it describes the style desired.  By the same measure eliminating all the adverbs ruins the meaning of the sentence.  So the lesson here is some modifiers are good, too many are bad.  The decision is solely the authors as to which ones to keep.  Mr. Lukeman suggests that we start with a single page and remove all of the adverbs, and read it through once.  How does that flow?  Will a stronger verb do a better job than adding an adverb to bolster it.  He then suggests, where we are sure we still need an adverb we use one that is unique and stay away from the over used or clichéd adverbs.  Such as sparkling eyes.  If the eyes in question sparkle or not is not at issue.  What is at issue here is that the phrase has been over used and like dialogue tags it will get skipped over while your reader registers a moment of boredom.

If your work is fraught with similar phrases your reader may decide they’ve read this before and set it down.  The job of a writer is to tell a tale with unique characters and a fresh turn of phrase.  Every sentence is not going to contain these pearls, but neither should all your sentences contain recycled phrases.  In order to give your characters a distinct voice they will need some dialogue quirks, that’s what  I to call them.  Phases that are uniquely theirs so that the reader doesn’t need a tag to know who’s speaking.

So this is my goal for the coming weekend of writing in the mountains.  It is what all wordsmiths aim for.  And so as miscellaneous body parts drift down the river in front of our cabin from the last zombie attack.  I throw myself on the mercy of the writing gods in hopes they will show me favor.  I leave you with these words from a writer known for his concise style.

“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can.  Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”  Ernest Hemingway

Write On,


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