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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Writting Matters by Janice Seagraves

Writing Matters 
by Janice Seagraves 

When we write, everything matters. From sentence structure to what our characters are eating and drinking.

It has to happen in the proper order or it won’t make sense. And if it doesn’t make sense then it won’t make sense to your readers.

I was watching Malibu Country with Reba McEntire (I love anything Reba is in). In a scene where she talked to her Mamma, I started watching what Reba was doing. Reba picked up a mug and added a tea bag. I could see that little square that hung over the edge of her mug. She added hot water. Walked around. Took a sip, then another. Talked some more, and drank more tea. Half her cup seemed to be empty, before she walked back to the counter and added sugar.

Do you see what was wrong here? Reba did something out of order. She’s such a pro that this struck me as odd.

One of the things I check for in the final read through of my writing, is what my characters are doing. Is it logical? Does it make sense? Is it in the right order? Are they adding the milk to the cereal, or cereal to the milk?

One of my daughter’s old PBS cartoons she used to watch had been really bad about doing things that defied logic. Characters would talk with a fork still in their mouths. Really? Wouldn’t that break their teeth?

Have you ever noticed something that happened in a book, movie or your child's cartoon that didn't make sense?

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Blurb: The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas. Then she finds a nearly-drowned man. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skill between them, will they survive these windswept shores and can they find love?

 For the first time available as a trade paperback: 

And for the Kindle: 

Janice Seagraves's website:


Melissa Keir said...

You are right that when things happen out of order, it can be confusing. I hope my wonderful editors find that before it ever gets to print!

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Janice, and so true. I'm always combing through my mss before I submit to make certain that if someone gets up from a chair/sofa/whatever, I actually had them sitting down previous to that. :)

Liz said...

very true. and I have always found myself jarred by things out of order in books, even before suffering the editing process myself. Good luck with Windswept Shores! sharing your post across my networks.

Nicole Morgan said...

Interesting post, Janice! You definitely have got me thinking..and I'll be more aware from now on. I bet we all do this from time to time without even realizing it. :)


The only way I can see that scenario working is if she is preoccupied. After a while, she finally realizes the taste isn't right and then adds sugar.

For me, when I watch movies and sometimes the costuming is wrong. I go crazy.

Katalina Leon said...

Getting your mind right and writing everything in the correct order is tough.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Melissa,

Yes, it can be.

Hi Tina,

I look for that too. :)

Hi Liz,

Jarring is a good word for it. Thank you. :)

Hi Nicole,

Probably so.

Hi Vicki,

I could see that being written into a book, but it's a little hard to convey on TV unless she says something or makes a face.

I'm the same way about costumes, but that's a post for another time. :)

Hi Katrina,

Yes, it can be.

Thank you for your comments everyone. :)


Cara Marsi said...

Janice, good post. I notice incidents being out of order in books and TV shows. Sometimes I drive my husband nuts because we'll be watching a TV show and the characters do something similar to Reba's. I go crazy and my husband tells me to relax and watch the show. But that's hard to do when my inner editor comes out.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Cara,

Yeah, I completely understand about the internal editor going nuts.


Sandy said...

My husband says I talk out of order, which makes it hard for him to understand what I'm trying to say.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Sandy,

Oh dear, well, tell him he married you in spite of it and how he has to live with it.


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