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Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Writer's Work Is Never Done!

As far as I know, no one's work is perfect the first time around. A good writer knows they have to revise and rework their pieces before they will be acceptable. Will they ever be perfect? I don't think there is such a thing. I read stuff that I have gotten published and I still see things that could be revised. A writer's work is never done, it seems.

So what do you look for when you have to edit your story before sending it out? Here are some things that I would work on. Feel free to add your own ideas here.

  • Does my opening scene grab the readers attention? Have I included important elements that my readers need to know in order to continue with the story? Are my characters introduced properly?
  • Have I used too much passive voice or do my verbs show action?
  • Are my sentences of varying lengths?
  • Is my imagery effective? Have I provided enough "seeing" that my readers can picture what I'm talking about?
  • Does my dialogue sound natural and smooth? Have I used dialect that halts the speech patterns of my characters?
  • Do my scene transitions flow into one another?
  • Have I cut all unnecessary words or cliches?
  • Is my ending conclusive and believable? Have I given the reader a complete story and left nothing lacking?
  • Is my manuscript formatted properly?
  • Have I proofed and run a spell check?


LA Day said...

If at all possible join a writer's group and have your work critiqued. It is difficult to critique your own work.

L.A. Day
Feral Domination releases January 31, 2007

William Jones said...

This is an obvious one, but I thought I'd add it to the list: Are the characters interesting?

It seems silly, but it is one of the most important parts of a story. Readers need to care about the character before the story works (usually, but not always). Making those interesting characters can be tough.

And, as L.A. Day said, a good writer's group always helps. :)

Stewart Sternberg said...

I have abandoned in searching for markets. I find that they aren't getting good up to date information.

However, I have started hitting duotrope and will send stuff found on there today. I have a few things I'm sending without hope of payment, just to get something out.

SP said...

All excellent ideas. I have found critiquing to be almost invaluable at this stage of my writing. Feedback is very important if you expect to actually publish anything good these days.

The characters being interesting...ah yes, how could I forget that one? That is indeed an important part of storytelling. Who wants to read a story of boring characters that don't do anything? :-)

And, Stewart, I used to frequent Ralans, but not so much these days. I didn't have Duotrope on
my list, but thanks to you mentioning it, I now have a new resource.