One wise commenter told me to take the judges comments you can use and then ‘leave the rest.’
Great advice. Except, what exactly is ‘the rest’? It’s hard to sort out sometimes – trying to listen to all the advice while still retaining your own unique voice, and writing style. What does that even mean?
“Be careful of the ‘ing’ words,” one judge told me in the comments of my manuscript.
Nothing else, just that simple statement of ‘be careful of the ‘ing’ words.
I re-looked at my writing and discovered that I do, indeed love words that end in ‘ing.’
I blustered. There’s nothing wrong with words that end in ing! In fact, I very much believe that writers who only use ‘ed’ words have a stilted and choppy sounding writing style. I don’t like it. It doesn’t move quickly. It doesn’t make you feel like you are really there, and part of the story. ‘Ing’ words are important!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about – let me take an example from my writing:
“May walked back through the foyer, her boots echoing against the hardwood floors as her heart echoed in her chest.”
If I change the ‘ing’ word – ‘echoing‘ to an ‘ed’ word, it would sound like this:
“May walked back through the foyer. Her boots echoed against the hardwood floors just as her heart echoed in her chest.”
At first I hated the changed it. I thought it sounded all wrong. Now, I can see that it might not sound nearly as stilted as I first thought.
Through my extensive research (by which I mean – lots of websites and many blogs), I discovered a few important things. First, ‘ing’ words have a name. Gerunds. But doesn’t ‘gerund’ just sound boring? Plus, ‘ing’ words is more straightforward. Second, I learned that gerunds really can make your writing grammatically incorrect, and yes – even passive. Third, they’re right. At least, they make some a really good points.
Here are a couple sources to check out how to make sure you’re using ‘ing’ words properly in your writing.
Gerund Verbs – How they hurt or help your fiction
Even still, for those of you who thing there is no place for ‘ing’ words in good writing, all I have to say is: You’re ‘ing’ crazy!
Just don’t over-do it, and it’s all good. Like all things in life, except love and laughing, moderation is key.