Saturday, December 29, 2012

No, my precious!

Since I am not a published author and I am too lazy to come up with my own, I have been using Nathan Bransford's revising checklist to edit my book. And this was how I felt when I first read his list: 
(oh my God my book is pathetic why did I start writing it in the first place MY LIFE SUCKS)

My book needed help. A lot of it. So, for a couple of weeks I danced around the prospect of actually sitting down and editing it. And finally, about a week ago, a dived headfirst into the process. 

Tips on How to Start and Carry Out the Editing Process:

1. Be a lazy jerk. 

Give your work to other people. And why not? Throw in the revising checklist, too. 

There's only so far you can go on your own. As you read your own writing, it's sometimes hard to put yourself in the mindset of a casual reader. If you give your work to other people, you are likely to get feedback that points out mistakes you wouldn't have noticed on your own. 

2. Make your characters your BFFLs. 

When it comes to your characters, don't concern yourself with personality, body expressions, or tone of voice. Focus on one thing: motivation. Why does that character exist? What is the purpose of that character in terms of plot? As long as you CONSTANTLY have your characters' motivations in mind, the rest will almost certainly fall into place. 

If you ask yourself, "What is my character's motivation?" and you can't come up with an answer, TAKE THAT CHARACTER OUT. Flat characters, or useless characters, do nothing to support the book, so you might as well remove them.ed

3. If it doesn't help the plot, TAKE IT OUT (please note how that was in all caps). 

Whether it's characters, scenes, or subplots, if it doesn't help the overall plot line, it's not worth keeping it. Don't concern yourself with word count. It's quality, not quantity. 

Make sure EVERY SINGLE SCENE brings the plot forward in some way. Every other scene should involve the main conflict in some form. If not, take it out. 

4. No, my precious! 

As you edit, try not to look at your writing as your own writing. Look at it as someone else's writing. Slash and tear at it as much as you can. Be ruthless. That way, you can (partly)
overcome the need to protect your writing as though it is your precious. 

Hope that helps! 

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