Friday, April 13, 2012

Contractions.......Or Not

While editing Aurora Rescue, the first novel I completed, I noticed something very interesting. I did not miss the contractions.

To give a little bit of history, when I first started this novel, I received input from both my granddaughter and her mother. The one plea from my daughter-in-law was to please use good grammar. So, even though I have a lot of dialect for some of my period characters, for my main characters, I did my best to avoid contractions.

Contractions are how many of us talk, although regionally, we do not use the same contractions. Contractions are a good way of reducing the number of words for a militant publisher that insists that a manuscript be limited to a certain length based on word count. But, I realized as I edited this book for the umpteenth time that, whether reading it quietly or speaking it out loud, I did not miss the contractions. My brain must have registered the contractions that I normally would have spoken. I was very comfortable with the "will not" instead of the "won't" and "cannot" instead of the "can't."

Now that I re-read Family Secrets, I see that I used a lot of contractions in the dialogue. After all, I have been living in California's central valley most of my adult life and my characters are from the same region. I know how we talk. However, based on the lessons learned from editing Aurora Rescue, I am going back and reviewing Family Secrets to see if I can get rid of some of the contractions.

I will deal with the word count police later.

No comments:

Post a Comment