Suddenly . . .

In one of my writer’s workshops, a colleague pointed out a paragraph I began with the word “suddenly”. She cautioned usage of that word. Whenever it popped up in her writing, it usually meant she had neglected writing details in the previous paragraphs. I looked, and sure enough, she was right. I try to be conscious of that word now. Is it really necessary or would other details work as well? If something startles the POV character, I don’t need to spell out “suddenly” for the reader.

So when I was rereading my high school draft for fun the other day, I couldn’t help laughing my head off at these lines:

“Suddenly and without warning,”–what does “suddenly” mean if not “without warning”?

“He was very startled and staggered in bewilderment.”–ah, my fourth semester mentor would cringe. What does being startled or bewildered feel like?

Hope I brightened your life! Happy writing!

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