Friday, June 10, 2011

Revision Friday: Three Ways To Beef Up Your Fiction

Revision is all about making your WIP the best it can be, right? When we are creating it's best to keep moving, no stopping to make sure every sentence does what it's suppose to. Revision is different in that it requires a level head, devoid of the emotional energy of creation. Here are three ways to absolutely improve your work in progress.

1) Slay your babies.These are those sentences created in the heat of getting the words on the page that you read over and say, "Well, now that was an awesome sentence." Sometimes, that's all it is; an awesome sentence that adds clutter. Clutter distracts the reader from the story. Believe me, usually your "babies" aren't as cute as you think they are. 

2) Cut the flab. These are those extra words that in our hurry to get the story on the page we add without noticing. Things like: He nodded his head in agreement. Really? What else would he nod, his toe? Take out all the unnecessary words that cover the muscle of the story. Who doesn't want well toned arms? Stories need toning, too.

3) Chop those cliches. You know, those turns of phrase that are stale and overly used. Sometimes in the heat of creation they creep in. It's our job as writers to seek them out and excise them. Or, convert them to something fresh.  
For example:  She waited quiet as a mouse.     She waited like the forest after rain.

So what are you going to SLAY, CUT or CHOP today?


  1. I've had to all of that. And cutting your darlings is more than just sentences. I've had to cut scenes. But now that I'm close to the end, the tighter better written story is worth it!

  2. These are three vital ways to improve writing-- so hard to do but so important!

  3. Yeah, you're right about those babies. You think they are okay, but re-read them two days later and you notice the flaw.
    Thank You.

  4. Yeah, I think slaying your sentences are much easier than whole paragraphs or scenes, even chapters. I'm still struggling with that. I just had an idea! What about moving those "babies" to a "nursery" in a notebook or Word doc. The delete key is so harsh. Kind of like clothes I just can't quite part with, after six months in a box, I realize that I am ready to say good-bye. What do you think?

  5. Good advice! And I hope to have all these properly removed by the time we!


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