I spend a good part of my day reminding myself to stay in the present moment, to stay with whatever is happening now without worrying about what will happen or did happen or what someone else is thinking or what I wish I was doing.
That’s good advice for writers, too. Stay in the now of the story.
Revising The Paris Notebook, I notice how often I step away from the scene, how I fall out of deep pov and slide backward into a telling, passive voice. About a hundred pages in, it’s getting easier to spot the “to be” verbs.
All this revision has been a huge help for tonight, when my writing group meets for our yearly critique by our published members. I used TPN last year, so tonight, Luke’s #1 Rule gets a turn. Until this morning, I hadn’t looked at that manuscript since I finished the draft, months ago.
As a warm up exercise, I went through tonight’s ten pages and highlighted every instance of “to be” verbs. Humbling numbers, but easily fixed by returning the character to where she belongs, actively engaged in the now of her story.