Saturday, January 22, 2011

Useful writing tips

The past few weeks have been very productive writing wise.  In November I set myself a target to write a 60,000 word novel and have it ready to enter the Clendon Award deadline date 28th February.

Progress to date: 50,000 give or take a few so I am quietly pleased. The book is at the most difficult stage, for me, where all the loose ends of the plot needs to be tied up, a point where I always strike difficulties.

It necessitates extracting the red herrings and making sure all the telling little details were where they should have been all the way through the story.

Nothing annoys me more  when I've finished reading a book and I'm left thinking whatever happened to Joe Blog and that pesky little dog of his. He was there for quite a while and I enjoyed his forays and then he was left hanging and ended up being forgotten.

So how do I ensure all the loose ends are tied.

What works for me is putting away my editing hat and reading...wearing my reader's hat.
Some writers find this difficult.

And I'll admit that it's not easy but it's a skill I've developed that I find invaluable.
How do I do it.
When I think a ms is ready for reading I print it out, find a quiet seat where I won't be interupted  with a red pen in hand and read. And most important of all turn off my internal editor.

If anything's strikes me as not reading right I mark the margin with a notation:
PP for plot point
Ch for character point
OCH for out of character
Gr for grammar
SS for sentence structure

Where a whole papgraph is off one diagonal red strike through line.
These simple notations don't stop the flow of my reading and yet give me a quick reference  for anything that jars.

I've found this works and makes editing easier ensuring I can quickly find and fix any passage.
without bogging the writer down with my internal editor.

Try it.
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