15 May, 2013

Editing the second draft

The first draft is easy, especially if you wrote it during one of the NaNoWriMo events. If you do it right, then the focus is just on making things as wordy as possible but to also fly through scenes with synopsis-like summary if you can't think of the phrasing. At least with that second route, you can get to the next section where you have the necessary verbiage to excel.

The second draft, on the other hand, should be about cleaning up the narrative, tailoring your plot objectives so nothing's left hanging, improving your characters' personalities and their presence, and to cut, cut, cut anything unnecessary to the storyline. It's been nearly four weeks since I completed the first draft, and now that I've gone into the first chapter with fresh eyes again, I can see what's working and what's not.

Namely, there's been dialogue tweaking and improvements in narrative action (re: what the characters are doing). I know that people hark on adverbs and their overuse, so I bought a very important book for myself. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Their examples are great for expressing emotion directly and indirectly in the narrative. Three pages into my edit, and I could already see a major difference in the quality of my writing. I would recommend the book for anyone looking to add quality to their stories.

Also, they have bonus material on their blog that covers more than just emotions.

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Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.