Category: Editorial Tricks

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Performing Your Own Work

Some people hate to perform. I tell them that, while being able to present your work in public is great for building your platform, a lot of performance is actually for your own benefit, to improve the writing in the first place…it seems to make them feel better. In that spirit, I have put together a list of nine things you might learn about your writing when you make that dark walk to the stage.

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POVs Should Cost Good Money

Writers switch point-of-view (POV) a lot.

“See, I need to describe what happens in a scene where Character A isn’t there but Character B is, so — we’ll just tell it from Character B’s POV….”

“I want the reader to know what Character B is thinking so I’m going to slip into his/her POV real quick in the middle of a scene told from Character A’s POV…”

“My narrator is omniscient so, even though 95% of it is told from the Character A’s POV, that’s my justification for having 5% from the POV of Character B…”

POVs should cost good money. Something that will act as a deterrent so that you really almost practically never switch POVs. Because, here’s the thing: each time we switch into another POV, we not only need another character to support that perspective — we need another world to imbue it. And that is no easy task.

Kill All Your Darlings

Many writerare familiar with William Faulkner’s words, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” But what if you’re not always ready to bring your knife to the page? How can you learn to objectively edit my work?

Well, first of all, no one’s talking about killing, or slashing here. Maybe cutting…revision does mean cutting. It’s one of those funny things about revision, you know? Revision is a process by which things get combined, get shortened or get expanded. It is also a process by which certain things get left out.

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Editorial Feedback: The Seven Levels of Reaction

I have noticed that when a writer — myself included — receives an editor’s comments they go through a continuum of reactions.

  1. Hell no, I’m not doing that. Is this person stupid?
  2. Almost certainly a terrible idea but I’ll think about it one more time.
  3. That’s interesting.
  4. Oh crap, of course. I’m going to pretend that was there all along.
  5. Can I just steal this comment and put it right in the manuscript? Or do I have to ask?
  6. I wonder if they understand this subject matter better than I do?
  7. I am blessed to be in contact with someone this smart!

P.S. These aren’t really like the five stages of grief; it’s okay to live all of these places at the same time. I mean, it will have to be… ’cause it’s real.