Writing Stainless Steel Prose

I’ve been busy third-drafting, which is about halfway through the process for me. I’m plugging minor plot holes, deepening character, wiping out weasel words, and polishing.

I’ve expunged nearly every adverb. I prefer simple metaphors. All those delicious turns of phrase I so admire in others’ writing? Those aren’t found in my prose.

But after publishing more than 100 books, my writing is what it is. It changes and adapts to the tone of each book and its characters, but my writing is more stainless steel than gold.

Stainless steel sings
Even in the third draft, I listen to each scene at least twice. As the computer reads to me, I note the rhythm, the flow of punctuation, and whether the emotion comes across—even in a monotone. Maybe it’s my musical background, but my ear catches repetitions, overused vowel sounds, and awkward rhythms I don’t notice as I write. If a word doesn’t fit seamlessly, I toss it. After about five drafts, I happily present the project to my editor—who will further refine my steel.

While I stand in awe of metaphorical masters and literary linguists, I don’t think I was meant to join their ranks. This is okay. We do what we were created to do, and that makes the world an interesting place.

Whatever you’ve been gifted to write, stay at the forge until you hear your steel sing.

Nearly four million copies of Angela Hunt’s books have sold worldwide. She is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books and nonfiction books to novels. Visit her website

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