The Just Chronicles

I recently finished my very first novel. Like most aspiring writers, I think, I was so relieved to have completed this project that had been a dream of mine since forever. So I ignored the standard “put it in a drawer” advice and started editing right away. And like all people who ignore good advice, I was disappointed in completely predictable ways.

Namely, my manuscript — my beautiful manuscript that took five months and hours without number to write — was riddled with errors. Errors big and errors small. Characters who changed names over the course of the book. Pacing problems. Plot holes. And typos — oh the typos.

The most notable problem, however, was my over-use of one little word: just.

As I worked on my revisions, I realized how many things “just” can mean: only, merely, right now, fair/right, actually. And that’s not even counting its use as a filler word or general intensifier. It’s a useful word, but not to use on every page.

Once I fixed my “just” problem, I did manage to put that first manuscript in a drawer. Oh, I sent it to some contests and beta readers too. I couldn’t resist. But now I’ve moved onto something that makes me even more excited. But also nervous, just a little bit.

Author: Emma

Emma Barry is a teacher, novelist, recovering academic, and former political staffer. She lives with her high school sweetheart and a menagerie of pets and children in Virginia, and she occasionally finds time to read and write.

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