In case you’re wondering, I am working diligently on applying crits/edits etc to TFGF. Lots I want to get done on it, which means LATE NIGHTS. It’ll be me, my laptop, a cup of tea, chocolate, and Sirius Satellite Radio (Coffeehouse station).
Writing a story is fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Because once you’re finished getting it all done on paper (or computer or both—hehehe), the real work begins. Now comes what I like to call the slash/crash/and keep game. I’m looking for stuff to slash from my MS, like wordiness, overuse of certain words, bad plotlines etc. Then I like to see what might make my story “crash” stuff like telling, plot holes, rushed scenes, too much description etc. And of course, the parts I’ll keep.
My critique group (YAFF), is invaluable for helping to weed some of these things out.
As I write chapters and edit them, I post them to the group for feedback. Sometimes their comments will spark new ideas, other times they’ll bring up things I need to look at. Like, “Wow, your character must be happy because he’s grinned like 15 times in the last 3 pages.” Or “Um—okay, why is your character suddenly acting like this for. They were really happy, and now for no reason they’re ripping people’s heads off.”
What might be apparent to us, as the writer of the story, might not be obvious to the reader. So if we have to go back and explain a scene to someone, we probably haven’t done our job. My rule of thumb for changing things is: If the suggestion makes sense, change it. Or, if more than one person is pointing out the same thing, time to revamp.
And although applying critiques/edits is hard work, I also look at it as something fun. I mean, now’s the chance to smooth the scenes out. Or maybe add in a new chapter that will totally take the story to the next level. It’s the time to bring the story from “good” to “great” by cutting the unnecessary, and making sure everything is balanced. Do character reactions/dialogue make sense to the scene? Are the motivations for these reactions working? Did I drop enough clues/hints about who the bad guy/girl really is? Have I brought the romance/relationships full circle? Do I have Plot lines that are still hanging, and if so, should they be left open?
It’s like working on a piece of art. You start out molding the clay. At first it looks like a lump. Then as you sculpt it, it turns into something beautiful.
So here’s to the editing/revision process.