Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Writing craft

Having multiple submissions was on this year's list and I'm so pleased with the results I want to do more. But not at the expense of each story being less than as perfectly polished as I can manage. Nor do I want to edit the life right out of my stories.

Learnng to be objective about my own work is one of my goals. No, it is not on the official annual goal list. Maybe it should be.

Here's a short list of advice that I've found helpful for gaining objectivity.

1) Print it out - editing hard copy helps me

2) Read aloud, noting any rough spots, another technique that works for me

3) Color code the text (one color for dialogue, another for setting, another for action, another for emotion and one for introspection) it makes what's missing vividly clear, very useful for me, especially the first few times

4) Put the story away for a couple of weeks. Time aids my objectivity.

So how do you all go about taking off the starry-eyed creative writer hat and pulling on the steely-eyed editor cap?


Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Hmm interesting question. I have to admit, I edit and re-read in hard copy. It all seriously looks different to me when I get the story off the screen and take it somewhere quiet. I've been known to tweak, print, tweak, print a half dozen times.

Which is why I love Costco for toner and paper. Oh, and that cool setting on my printer that allows me to print draft quality.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...


Draft quality - what a fine idea.:) Of course I waver between this is it the final final final absolute best version and why print? I don't have a bird. . .

Good to see you.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Avery Beck said...

I think my internal editor is on all the time, in a way. Even when I'm rushing through the exciting part of a first draft, I always know when I've written something that sucks and I know I'll have to go back and layer, and rewrite sentences, etc etc etc. I can usually tell on the first go-round which parts will only need a bit of tweaking and which parts need major revisions. Luckily, I'm one of those people who like revisions, because it's so much better than staring at a blank page not knowing what happens next!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Avery, In my case the whole first draft is sucky.LOL But I've learned that if I allow my internal editor (not a nice person) to say one word the story will never see the light of day. She'd not allowed out until the second draft.

For me this works well, because it gives me time to get past the OMG what a pile of poo stage and fall in love with the story. This in turn makes me willing to go through it over and over and over until it truly is the best I can make it.

12:48 PM  

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