How to Take the Frustration Out of Self-Editing
by Catherine E. McLean
A first draft holds the possibility of what will be a great story. Revision turns that rough diamond into a spectacular gem worth a reader's money and time.
Writers are individuals but to be a producing writer means creating a system to revise and polish a work so the reader thoroughly enjoys the story. REVISION IS A PROCESS is a guidebook for writers and authors that shows how a simple 12-step process can be tailored to eliminate the most common and chronic maladies of writing genre fiction. This valuable guidebook contains secrets, tips, practical advice, how-to's, and why-to's for taking the frustration out of self-editing.
What kind of writer am I?
Usually a frustrated one because time is never on my side.
You see, I have so many story ideas that I will never get to all of them in a hundred lifetimes. My husband says there is a revolving door at the top of the stairs to the basement-in-my-mind where my imagination plays so it can easily drop off ideas. Of course I save them all. Well, nearly all. There are a few outlandish duds that come up now and then. I keep the good ones in a three inch, three ring binder called "Bits & Pieces." That binder is bulging with ideas, snippets of conversations, thumbnail sketches of characters, plot what ifs, and more.
But what you likely want to know is not what kind of writer I am but how do I create my stories. Most writers are familiar with the Pantser and the Plotter types of writers, well, there are at least ten types of writers that I've been able to identify. Of those, I'm a Foundation Writer.
What is a Foundation Writer? It's a writer who gets a story "dump," which is usually a scene, the opening of the book, or a character come to life. Everything about the story is hidden in the context of that dump. Which means studying the dump to extrapolate and plot from the information contained or implied therein. This method utilizes some plotter methods and tools, like outlining. However, it is not a strict outline by any means.
Once I get a story dump, I rely on my Project Bible to answer questions and get at the heart of the plot. In that Project Bible are character interview questions, notes to remind me of what type of story I'm writing, etc.
By using my Project Bible, I know before I draft the story that I have a story and a plot as well as the best characters to fulfil the roles of protagonist, antagonist, and romantic lead, etc.
If you're curious what type of writer you are, check out my free Writers Cheat Sheet on 10 Types of Writers -
From Section 7, Show Don't Tell - What to Cut or Change
One rule of fiction is to show more and tell less.
What does that mean?
A very simple example is that saying it's a flower is telling but to say it's a white rose, its petals edged with a mist of ruby-pink is showing.
Showing means providing an instant, vivid image so the reader sees in their mind what was meant.
Yes, showing requires more words than telling, but how much detail is too much detail when showing?
Keep in mind that readers will stop reading and skim over sentences and paragraphs of details in order "to get to the good stuff" of drama, action, and something happening of interest. So it's best to choose all descriptive words carefully and keep the passages succinct.
Now— Go through your manuscript and highlight all descriptive phrases and passages so you can see how much of the total text is description.
If using your word processor's highlight feature, pause to zoom down to view entire pages and look at the end of pages to see how much carried over to the next page.
If you have exceeded three sentences (20-60 words) of description or explanation at any spot, that may be overkill. Determine what needs to be cut, pared down, rewritten, or reparagraphed for visual effect and immediacy, and what is too lengthy, mundane, or bordering on boring.
It's also important, when revising such areas, to remember that the replacement words should be in keeping with the story's or scene's narrator—and not you, the author, stepping onto the page with your voice, (that's a type of Author Intrusion that readers hate).
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Catherine E. McLean's lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hard cover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA & MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and advenure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS - HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.
● Hub Website: http://www.CatherineEmclean.com
● Website for writers: http://www.WritersCheatSheets.com
● Writers Cheat Sheets Blog: https://writerscheatsheets.blogspot.com
● Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/CatherineMcLea7
● Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/catherinemclean
● Amazon Author Page:
● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0988587440
● Link to buy REVISION IS A PROCESS at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/revision-is-a-process-catherine-e-mclean/1126295618
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway