The Mechanics of Writing…
…Or, the mistakes we are all guilty of, especially me… No matter what form your writing may take, there are a few givens that always apply.
- Overly long sentences are to be avoided at all costs – GUILTY!
- Too much or too little punctuation, combined with unnecessary use is also to be avoided – GUILTY!
- Too much descriptive narrative is not desirable – GUILTY!
- Too little, or too much conversation between characters either annoys the reader, or bores them to death – GUILTY!
- Don’t be afraid to make your characters three dimensional – VERY GUILTY!
- Avoid overly long paragraphs – GUILTY!
- Determine what is the appropriate length for each chapter – not sure? Ask your editor – GUILTY!
- Don’t be afraid to change a word when the offending word has another form far more suitable – GUILTY!
- Be highly critical of your own work, why, because your editor surely will be, that’s why – GUILTY!
As I now sit down to revise/edit my latest manuscript I find myself scratching my head as to why I wrote each sentence in the way I did initially.
At the time when that sentence first leapt from my mind onto this computer screen it made sense. But does it now – no, not really.
Don’t think that spending hours each day working your way through several chapters at a time will solve the problem – it won’t, you need to be fresh and wide awake.
Do what I do – take one chapter each day. Go through it several times. Stop for a cup of tea/coffee often.
If the weather is fine, get outside for a break away from those pesky words sitting there in front of you for an hour or so, they’ll still be there when you get back.
Above all, don’t treat your writing efforts as a chore.
Relax; enjoy watching that story/article slowly unfold in front of you.
And, when your editor fires your work back to you with his/her suggested corrections, don’t take umbrage. Take what they say on the chin, learn from them.
Now if only I would take my own advice – sigh…
CASE PROVEN – GUILTY AS CHARGED YOUR HONOUR!
As I’m currently hard at work editing my new novel’s manuscript folks, I’m endeavouring to follow my own advice, honestly I am, hand on heart. 🙂
. . . but, be careful. Sometimes we judge our work too harshly. Many a time I threw out the first version of something–and discovered later on the first version was the best of the lot. And I couldn’t exactly word it together like I originally had it.
A college professor of mine writes poetry. But he’ll never get published. He keeps revising, and revising, and revision–always looking for the perfect word. The perfect phrase. The perfect line.
But nothing is perfect.
B.R, If I’ve learned just one thing since taking up writing seriously, it is this:
If a writer wishes to be taken seriously, he/she has to be super critical of his/ her work. The difference between a best seller and an also ran is all down to you the author. If your work doesn’t grab your editor and the reader by the throat, forcing them to want to know what happens next, then your hard won words will not be read by anyone else beyond your immediate circle of friends. 🙂
Thanks for the advise. Although you see my prose I am a writer of novels and have an open ear for advise just like you have here and will be storing it in a filing cabinet, I say in the brain. Thanks so much. Nancy