Paula wonders if you ever need the word ‘sudden’ or ‘suddenly’ in your stories.
I’ve been revising/editing my first novel (His Leading Lady)
for re-publication, as I recently got my rights back from the publisher (long
story, which I won’t go into here!). This story was first published in 2011,
but I actually wrote it about five years ago. And wow, have I learned a lot
since then! I haven’t changed the story itself, apart from deciding Kyle needed
full Highland dress—a kilt and jacket with silver buttons over a silk shirt
(quick swoon)—instead of a tuxedo for the opening night of his West End show!
What I have had to change, though, is a whole raft of
repeated words. The usual culprits – that, then, so, just, maybe etc. In some
cases, this involved, not just deleting the words, but rewriting sentences,
even whole paragraphs, to make the new sentences flow smoothly.
I was surprised when I realised how much I had used the
words ‘sudden’ or ‘suddenly’- and ended up deleting them all.
Here some examples of where I realised the word either wasn’t
needed, or required another word:
Suddenly she wished …
She wasn’t sure
whether it was sudden concern…
He grinned suddenly.
(Hmm, that happened several times)
Suddenly his words
came back to her,
In sudden panic…
The hairs on the back of her neck suddenly
He said suddenly (again, several times)
She had a sudden urge to…
Well, you get the
picture. I had used ‘sudden’ or ‘suddenly’ 64 times, and either deleted or
replaced the offending word with another word e.g. in the last example, I
changed ‘sudden’ to ‘compelling’. I ended up with none
of the original 64 ‘sudden(ly) words.
Maybe it was ‘lazy’
writing when I originally wrote this story, because, in a sense, it’s telling
rather than showing, and most times you can delete it or replace it with a
stronger word (as I’ve done)
However, it made me
wonder if there are any occasions when you really need to use the word, either as
an adjective or adverb. I’d be interested to see if anyone has any examples of
when sudden or suddenly should be