One of the problems with jumping back into writing for blocks of time (rather than 20 minutes of writing followed by an hour of tech-related issues) is that I have lost the tone of my previous writing. I start noticing that my words come out flat or there’s a weird disconnect between me and my characters.
To remove the flatness, it helped to reread the previous chapters. Yet it was hard to take down the barrier between author and protagonist. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what isn’t working.
Earlier this week, Kelsie Engen rescued me. Her post “5 Overused Words in Fiction” helped by identifying “filter words”:
What [filter word] means is that instead of staying close in the character’s head, we’re forcing the reader to jump back and be reminded that they are not the character.
After searching for those particular words in my manuscript, I realized how I’d gone from a tightly-written, direct approach in the first five chapters to indirect, slushy writing later on.
Engen will continue posting about this level of self-editing. I look forward to it!