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(This is a handout I made up for our revision & self-editing panel at Killer Nashville writers' conference, Aug. 22-25, 2013. For my personal impressions of this excellent conference, click HERE.)
Try not to think about it during that time. Focus on other things and just let it percolate in the back of your mind. Maybe have beta readers (savvy volunteer readers who don’t need to be writers) go through it and comment on what excited them, bored them, or confused them.
- Ditto with other important characters. Go for contrast among the main characters.
- Length: If your story is over 90,000 words, look for ways you can tighten it. Maybe your writing style is rambling and overly wordy, or you have too many characters or too many sub-plots. Or too much time spent on transitions and quiet scenes where not much happens. Spark up or delete any parts that seem boring or repetitive. For concrete tips on tightening up your story without losing any of the good stuff, see my post, How to Slash Your Word Count by 20-40%.
If your writing style is sparse, show scenes with action and dialogue instead of summary, and add sensory details, visual clues, and character reactions.
- Read it through out loud. Underline any parts where you stumble or that sound unnatural or overly wordy - that don't have an easy flow.
Jodie Renner, a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other fast-paced fiction, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: WRITING A KILLER THRILLER and STYLE THAT SIZZLES & PACING FOR POWER, both available in e-book and trade paperback.
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