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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Monday, 23 May 2011

Lexical Sets and Copy Editing

So here's my cover solutions for now - I'm on with the next romance and for now I think it's more important to edit them and get them up on Kindle than it is to mess with covers - although I do think covers are important.
This week I've been thinking about lexical sets (a collection of words on the same subject) - when I teach I go on (and on, probably) about how there's ALWAYS a lexical set to be found in a poem or a piece of text. I encourage the students to find them and say what effect the lexical sets have on the piece they are analysing, how it affects mood and tone, how it builds a picture. So why then, has it taken me so long to appreciate the effect of lexical sets on a romantic novel? One of the things that copywriters do to my novels is change and possibly negative words to something with nicer connotations. I used to smile at bit at first. In one book a character I saw as comic pointed with a finger that 'had clearly been gardening.' This was changed to pointing with a 'beautifully manicured' finger. My couple found a dark corner in a restaurant. No, not nice enough. They were seated in a discreet corner. And so it goes, I honestly thought they were being over sensitive and fussy - until I wrote down each word. Over the course of about a quarter of a book: the words dark, oily, dirty, greasy, grubby, old and oily again were taken out. They look totally revolting piled up next to one another in a good old lexical set. Well for goodness sake! Who do I think I am, Salaman Rushdie? (Or any of those writers who like to pile on dirty filth in the name of realism - if you don't believe me, take a highlighter to one page and mark every negative word.) No way to I want to emulate that style, yet somehow I've been infected. I seem to think that in order to make a scene 'real' I have to use the kind of vocabulary favoured by 'real' writers. Well, no more. So far as I am concerned, a tree full of beautiful apple blossom is as real as a burnt-out car. No more negative descriptions for me! It's going to be cherry trees all the way.


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