Grammar for Fiction Writers: Busy Writer's Guides Book (2014)

Part IV. Special Challenges for Fiction Writers

Chapter 23. Take It to the Page: Part Four

Many of the elements in this chapter are things you’ll need to watch for as you read through your book for your final self-editing pass. Unfortunately, there’s no real shortcut to catching misplaced modifiers or your characters doing the impossible.

We can, however, search for one poison word: as.

Use the Find and Replace feature in your word processing program this time. Here’s what you should enter.

Find: as

Replace: AS

(Make sure you put a space in front of and behind “as” or that you select “Whole Words Only” otherwise your search will show you every time an a appears next to an s.

By replacing the smaller case as with all caps, they’ll jump out at you.

For every AS, ask yourself the following questions.

·        Have you reversed cause and effect? If so, make sure you have the action come first, followed by the reaction.

·        Have you created a situation where two things are grammatically happening at the same time that can’t actually happen at the same time? Rewrite it as two separate sentences to show the real sequence of events.

For any as that serves a legitimate purpose in the sentence, simply change it back to the lowercase.