Saturday, November 20, 2010

Basic Editing

Here are a few basic tips I follow when editing. Feel free to add in your own.

1.) Does your character do something too much? Giggle? Blush? Belch? Brush her hair aside? A character only has to do these things a few times for the reader to understand it's part of the character's personality. Brutally cut the rest.

2.) Don't be redundant with dialogue tags. It is not necessary to write, "But why can't I go?" she asked. It is not necessary to write, "She's always gets her way!" he shouted. And a conversation between two people needs very few dialogue tags at all. Don't burden your dialogue (and word count) with he said/she said. Make your tags count.

4.) Be refreshing. Use the search mechanism on your document and find words you use too much. Then visit your friendly neighborhood thesaurus to get rid of boring/over-used words.

5.) Be methodical. Read your manuscript over for typos only. Then read it over for numbers 1-4 only. Then read it over for voice/craft only. Isolating one problem at a time will help you make sure you didn't miss anything.

6.) Above all else: First draft work is zoo dirt. Don't send an agent/editor zoo dirt.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How Far is Too Far?

This past week I've been sick with the flu. Right now, my body feels like it wants to hibernate. If I weren't a writer, I would let it. But my story won't leave me alone. So I sit at the computer pumped up with flu medicine, tissues to the left, water to the right, cold-air vaporizer in the corner. For the past week, I woke up early every. Single. Morning. To write. In my sweatpants and socks, tissues crammed into my nostrils. Instead of sleeping in, instead of taking an extra long steamy shower to break up the phlegm. Instead of eating a good breakfast. Is this insane?

So, my question is: What is the craziest thing you've done in order to write? Post anonymously if you have to. Just tell me I'm not insane.