|Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power|
New authors often underestimate the importance of revising your novel before publishing. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” While the first draft of your novel is definitely not crap, it’s likely a long way from being as powerful and compelling and polished as it could be.
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 important scenes through action, reactions, dialogue, and thoughts, instead of summarizing or telling, 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 has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Fire up Your Fiction (Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power), which has won two book awards so far.Look for her third book in the series, out soon. For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, her blogs, Resources for Writers, Crime Fiction Collective, and The Kill Zone, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And sign up for her newsletter.