Interesting interview with an author about using statistics to improve our writing. Go here and see what you think.
Some of my observations:
- Best-selling female writers use more “ly” words than the men do.
- Beginning a story with the weather is not a deal-breaker for most readers. (But it almost always is for this reader.)
- Favorite words can tell you a lot about an author.
- This looks like a book that would be great fun to read.
Bottom line? Some writers “break the rules” and become famous. I like to play it safe, though, so I don’t usually start my stories with long sentences, the weather, or a single character musing, especially if she just woke up in bed. I also avoid “ly” words as much as possible, but I do use them sometimes because, you know, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes there is not a good verb that can stand alone that doesn’t distract from the flow. Every time I read that someone is trotting, I think of a horse. Is that what writers want? Think about the reader! Most readers never notice “ly” words, I’m sure. But weird words that are seldom used will take them right out of a story.