Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Editing Advice

Editing Advice:  Not mine specifically but some pretty useful tips I've spotted online recently.  The more you edit, the harder it becomes to spot the minor points that might detract from the story.  Sometimes, it's worth taking a refreshing look at other people's tips.  If only to try a unique approach.  Might not work but worth the effort imo.  Here are some links that I thought were worth reading.

Some writing tips from BubbleCow go into paring down words to make a second draft neater and tighter than the first.  The comments section goes into expanding second drafts.  Personally, I do a bit of both.  I try to look for repetitive information and paragraphs that could be condensed but I'm also always on the look out for those scenes that I can expand to give more of an impact.  It's a hard balance for me.

The Other Side of the Story is full of easy to read and useful information.  I always enjoy the writing tips on this blog and find myself feeling like I've learned something by the end of a post.  Vague pronouns were one of the topics recently discussed.  I love how Janice Hardy always makes sure to give examples, it makes it so much easier to process.

I loved this post on Writing on the Wall.  Avoiding redundancies in a WIP.  I am the Queen of redudant words and phrases.  I cannot help myself and unless I'm actively looking out for them, I can't spot them at all.  It's like I have a blind spot.  That's why I read other people's blogs.  I get kept on the right track.

One of Jordan McCollum's blog posts about back stories had me sweating.  Figuratively.  I always worry about this.  It's so easy to do a big info dump on a first draft that it's often hard to take it back and weave it through the story appropriately on a later draft.  It can be difficult to see when there might be confusion because you know the story so well.  That's partly why having someone else read your work is important, they can spot the things you can't see.  In all honesty, if you know that someone is reading your story, you start thinking harder about it and come up with errors all on your own.  :)

And last but not least is this cute little word cloud as discussed on Kindle Boards.  You can paste your WIP and see the most commonly used words.  It's great for an instant look into possible over-useage.  Very handy.  A lot of novel writing programs come with a tool that allows you to search for over used phrases which is also very useful.

From going into Word, using Ctrl + F and searching for every instance of the word "that" or cutting out most of the -ly words to making sure dialogue contractions sound normal, we all have things we need to look out for because sometimes it isn't obvious even while we're editing and rewriting.  One of the most useful things I've ever done was read my work on my ereader.  Seriously amazing how differently I saw things on that tiny screen!  I love hearing how other people work so please share if you have any good/unique/interesting tips.

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