Editing with emojis

I don’t typically use my blog for writing tips but I’m making an exception today. Any author who’s ever revised a book is familiar with searching for repetitive words, phrases, descriptions. When you have 300 occurrences of “just” “like” “smile” “shrug” in a 300 page novel, it’s too much. And it is not the fun part of editing—at least not for me.

I’m currently in my last stage of revisions for AS SEEN ON TV before I turn the first round of developmental edits to my editor. I’m at that stage. You know, the one where I’m mortified to discover how many times my characters “suck in a breath” and “widen their eyes.” Many recommend the Emotion Thesaurus for assistance in describing various character’s emotions. I own a physical copy and use it often. But it’s currently in my apartment and I’m…well, not. Also, I have come to the point where I’ve already over-used even some of the wonderful examples suggested in the guide.

My writing strengths are witty banter/dialogue and describing internal thoughts of my characters. Where I struggle is description of objects and faces. During my grueling review for repetition, I discovered overuse of the word “look.” It was easy enough to change some of the verb uses to “peer” and “glance” and “study” and “observe” etc. But I also found too many instances of using the word as a noun: “I gave him a questioning look;” or as a verb in this manner: “He looked at me with sincerity;” “She looked at me questionably.” Which begs the question, how does a face expressing sincerity actually look? How does a skeptical face actually look? (More repetition of the word look even in this blog post. Ugh!)

My first idea was to search various emotions in GIFS for help in matching feelings to facial expressions. It was helpful to a degree except I still needed to describe what I saw…using words. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could just affix images to our books instead??)

And then the answer came to me in an emoji. Yes, an emoji! I turned to Google, where I searched “skeptical emoji” “thoughtful emoji” etc. Lo and behold, along with the image of the emoji I searched, there was a description of the expression on its face! For instance, the paraphrased description of thoughtful emoji is “furrowed eyebrows with the thumb and index finger resting on its chin.” Using these emoji definitions as a guide, I was able to describe a thoughtful “look” with more specificity than simply “he looked thoughtful,” and as a result, I managed to reduce the repetitive language in my novel. I didn’t replace all of the instances of “look” because everything is okay in moderation and I also believe too much showing can slow the pace of the novel, but I changed enough to provide much-needed variety to the manuscript.

In summary, for those of you who, like me, struggle with describing facial expressions or simply use the same ones too often, I highly recommend you implement the “editing with emojis” method too. Obviously, there is more to revising a novel than searching emojis, but it is another tool to utilize when dealing with pesky repetition.

You’re welcome!

AS SEEN ON TV: wishing and hoping

I don’t have a release date yet for my upcoming romantic comedy, AS SEEN ON TV, but the tentative publishing season is Summer, 2022. Despite it being what feels like a very long time to wait, I find myself day dreaming about exciting things to come. It’s easy to do while anticipating releases from other debut authors and seeing their Twitter and Instagram feeds in a frenzy of activity. There is no guarantee all of these things are in my future, but I’m wishing and hoping. Putting my dreams into the universe can’t hurt so, without further ado, I’ve listed below some of the things about my traditional debut I most anticipate.

Forever does amazing things with covers, both illustrated and not, and am dying to see what they do with mine. My comps at the imprint (so far) are Abby Jimenez, Farah Heron, Farrah Rochon, and Helena Hunting. Their illustrated covers are fabulous and fingers crossed mine will be reminiscent of theirs.

Keeping the same “creative” vain, I look forward to seeing fun artwork and graphics to match my cover, like new banners for my social media and my newsletter, maybe even animations!

I can’t wait to participate in romcom and other authorly panels, both virtual and hopefully-by-then live. Instagram takeovers with other authors and bookstagrammers. These scare me because of my lack of experience but I embrace the challenge.

Forever has an amazing Instagram presence and I watch the stories each day, salivating over upcoming releases I want to read and dreaming of the day I’ll see my own book there.

This is definitely wishful thinking, but I’d love to see AS SEEN ON TV chosen in one of those Twitter feeds comparing romance book covers to cupcakes or flowers!

Another dream that may not come true is seeing my book on lists: most anticipated this, best romances to (insert activity) etc. but, again, never hurts to dream big!

I can’t wait to receive my box of books and film my unboxing!

I can’t wait to work more closely with my editor(s) and the publicity team at Forever.

There are so many more but none of us have all day, so I will skip to my “last but not least”: seeing AS SEEN ON TV in a bookstore, signing copies of it in a bookstore, meeting readers in a bookstore where my book is on sale! AS SEEN ON TV is not the first book I’ve ever written or even published, but it is my trade paperback debut and releasing with a Big 5 imprint is a world of difference from anything I’ve experienced before. It is my first novel with a print distribution and the first time my book will be in bookstores and libraries rather than available only via online platforms. This is a dream more than ten years in the making. I worked hard. I endured rejections. I didn’t give up. I practiced patience. I persevered. For those of you who share my dream, never give up!

That’s it for me on this rainy Saturday morning. Before I go, I want to ask if you’d like to sign up for my newsletter. I will continue to post blogs here for a while but as my release date approaches, I will be sharing more news about the book (sneak peek cover art, important dates, giveaways etc.) on my soon-to-be redesigned newsletter. Join me?

Happy weekend all!

RIP: RUTH BADER GINSBURG

Millions of hearts broke last night over the death of liberal giant, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. RBG was only the second woman appointed to Supreme Court Justice and she fought tirelessly for women’s rights and same sex marriage. Her legacy will be remembered forever and the loss is huge. I was eating outside, […]

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Book News!

This will be a short one, but the sweetest blog I’ve posted in…well…ever! I was offered and have accepted a two-book publishing deal with Forever, the romance and women’s fiction imprint of Grand Central Publishing. Here’s the official announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace with the elevator pitch for the first novel in the deal – AS […]

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Where I’m at A-Z Pandemic edition

I hope you all had a great weekend! The weather in New York City was beautiful and I went running on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I try to get out early and beat the crowds. That way, I get my fix of fresh air and don’t feel like I’m missing anything stuck indoors the rest […]

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dating in the time of Corona

I’m not doing it. End of blog. Just kidding. Let’s discuss. When I thought the restaurant/bar closings, instructions to stay at home, and warnings against close contact with others would last several weeks to a month, dating was something I was happy to put on hold. I didn’t see the point. The idea of spending […]

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What I most look forward to after a vaccine

A few days ago, I posted my favorite things about staying at home. Today, I want to take a different route. To avoid being negative, I’m not going to list all the things I hate about life these days. Instead, I will take a more positive approach and discuss what I most look forward to […]

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Favorite books to stay at home with

I’m devouring books more than ever due to my complete lack of a non-virtual social life. While many of us are embracing reading during this time, I’ve heard others are struggling to focus on books. By sharing some of my favorite reads over the last two months, I hope I can provide recommendations to those […]

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Fitness in the age of Corona

Before Covid-19, I exercised five days a week. My rotation consisted of outdoor runs, the Peloton bike in my apartment building’s gym, spinning at NYSC, and rowing classes at Row House. When gyms were ordered to close down, I had to re-access my fitness routine. Spinning, rowing, and the Peloton bike were no longer options […]

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FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT ISOLATION

There are so many things to hate about this moment in time. Constant fear and anxiety, not being able to see my friends and family without a device between us, and struggling to breathe behind a face mask are at the top of my list. Perhaps I will publicly add to that list at some […]

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