Monday, February 18, 2013

Working with an Editor: I Meant to Do That!

My characters have a tendency to perform similar actions with their hands, their eyes, or whatever other body part they happen to use a lot. They also have a tendency to possess one or two similar personality traits with characters from my other books. Usually it's so minor, I don't even realize I've written them that way. I've read the book three or four times, still not realizing the similarities. Then my editor gets a hold of it and kindly asks me if I intended to do that. My first thought is, "Of course!" until I stop for a moment to consider what she's pointed out. Sometimes I can still say, "Yes, I meant to do that." Other times I end up reviewing and revising because I honestly hadn't realized what I'd done. 

It occurred to me that some of the traits I give my characters are my own. They are natural and I think nothing of them. For example, my characters use their hands a good deal. I wasn't aware of this, but in my last book, I ended up deleting more than fifty uses of the word "hand"! I've always thought that what a person does with their hands says a lot about them, but I had no idea how much of that ended up in my writing. 

I certainly won't be removing these little traits from my characters' personalities, but I've learned that too much of a good thing is well . . . sometimes too much. 

Is there something you find your characters tend to do a lot? Did you completely change the trait or find another way to covey that personality trait without overdoing?

Disclaimer: My editor does not edit my blog posts, so I take full responsibility for any errors, as I'm certain there are a few.


  1. You bring up a good point and now I'm going to be thinking about this when I'm writing :) I love these "Working with and Editor" posts you're doing!

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying them Kimberly. It helps me to write some of these down so I remember them, so I figured I'd share.