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Thread: Editing

  1. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    21

    Re: Editing

    Who've you got that can read it for you?

    I did this with my grand daughter - got her to read a difficult (for me) chapter, then left it for a day. Then I ambushed the poor girl and asked her what had happened in the chapter. I wrote what she told me.

    I figured it's the reader that counts. We don't know what'll really stick in their minds.



  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    461

    Re: Editing

    There is a problem with beginning a chapter or story with dialogue. You've provided no grounding for the reader. It's a bit like walking into the middle of a conversation at a party where everyone is talking about a person you've never met. I treat beginnings this way: Start at the moment everything has changed for your character. Perhaps his wife has just left him, his dog just died in his arms, he's just been fired from his job, he's crawling out from the rubble of his quake-damaged home... In all of these situations, the character is forced to do something, to respond to the immediate crisis. The trouble with dialogue is that it's also fairly static. People are not doing anything but talking. If that conversation is boring or confusing, the reader will move on.

    As to editing-- I think you really need to finish a complete draft of a section or chapter or story before you go back. Let the work sit for awhile before you read it with your editor's eye. You should be able to approach the text without even remembering how you felt while you were writing it. Then you can look at it clearly, with no concerns about taking out the "darlings." If I read some of my work and I cannot remember writing it, I know I'm ready to edit it. I no longer have that deep emotional investment. Instead, I can look at it objectively, evaluating the craft of the work itself.

    Bella mentioned finding an outside reader. That's invaluable. If you can find someone to read your work out loud to you, it will help you "hear" the awkward phrase, the stilted dialogue, the misplaced comma, the missing word, the purple prose, the missing word, etc. However, that is only one phase of editing. Even after you clean up the story, you still need to make a separate pass to polish and spit shine. In this final editing pass, you are working on tightening, using dynamic verbs, finding the precise image or metaphor, controlling the pace of every sentence, etc.

    The best writing is always a product of the re-writing. Just my thoughts...

    Jeanne

  3. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684

    Re: Editing

    Jeanne. Very good advice. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    99

    Re: Editing

    Jeanie, I really needed to hear that - especially in regards to letting it sit before editing. I am learning such great stuff on this site - thankyou! B)

  5. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    10

    Re: Editing

    I find writing a chapter and then going back and reread is an eye opeing experience.
    After it goes through that phase, I have other people read it and suggest improvements.

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