Here's another of the dreadfully bloated sentences that used to appear in my old historicals:
Cade could feel the soft heaves of Lily's laughter against his side, and he untensed long enough to allow himself a grin.
Ouch. I edited most of these out of the new versions of the books and probably took out 10,000 words just cutting sentences like these. Allowed himself? Really? He can't just grin? And if he's feeling Lily, one can already assume she's touching him in some manner and the rest of the scene shows this. So against his side is redundant within the setting. That cuts the sentence down to this:
Cade could feel the soft heaves of Lily's laughter, and he untensed long enough to grin.
Now if I'm really on a roll, I'll whack that "feel." It's a pretty weak verb. Lily's breasts heaved in laughter, and he untensed long enough to grin. Which probably makes a lot more sense than her laughter heaving!
I really need to go back and pull some of the classic historical romances off my shelf and see if everyone padded their sentences this badly back then, or if it was only me. We could have saved a lot of trees just by a little editing! Anyone else enjoying all the fun backlist books showing up on Amazon and B&N and elsewhere? I'm finding new series and new authors from reading Twitter and Facebook. Fun.
And as a reminder, I have all my American historical romances on sale for $3.99 for the month of August. Or the ones I've put up, anyway. Publishers and other e-retailers have different books and different prices. If you check them out, let me know which covers are your favorites. I have a lot more to put together and I'm pretty clueless.