Be Brutally Honest

28 Comments

  1. Great checklist. When the printer is working again I'm going to print this post to use when I'm in revisions. :)

    My problem right now is I know where the book doesn't shine, but am never really sure why it's not shining, like the beginning. I realized I didn't need most of what's there!

  2. Great checklist. When the printer is working again I’m going to print this post to use when I’m in revisions. :)

    My problem right now is I know where the book doesn’t shine, but am never really sure why it’s not shining, like the beginning. I realized I didn’t need most of what’s there!

  3. Glad to help! A lot of the time, we put all of the information into the first draft because we're learning about the setting, plot, and characters as we write. As we get into the second and third drafts, we learn to peel away the extra stuff.

  4. Glad to help! A lot of the time, we put all of the information into the first draft because we’re learning about the setting, plot, and characters as we write. As we get into the second and third drafts, we learn to peel away the extra stuff.

  5. Loved the checklist of questions. Reading the dialogue outloud like you suggest really helps me find the weak spots. I've had it recommended to me to read my story into a tape recorder and then listen – the person swears you'll hear even more. Thanks for all the help.

  6. Loved the checklist of questions. Reading the dialogue outloud like you suggest really helps me find the weak spots. I’ve had it recommended to me to read my story into a tape recorder and then listen – the person swears you’ll hear even more. Thanks for all the help.

  7. Tape recorder. Check. I love that idea. Plus, it will help you prepare for public readings once you’re published! You’ll hear if you mumble, read too quickly so no one can understand you, or too softly so no one can hear you.

  8. Tape recorder. Check. I love that idea. Plus, it will help you prepare for public readings once you're published! You'll hear if you mumble, read too quickly so no one can understand you, or too softly so no one can hear you.

  9. Great checklist! Some of those I know will need work on my part (right now, I find my main char incredibly dull and LOVE writing one of the evil minions – if I don’t like her, I can’t imagine anyone else doing so. I’ve kept plugging away at it, hoping that her character develops into something special as I go and that when I go back to revise later, I can fix the beginning. She’s getting more likable, but slooooowly).

    Some of your points I hadn’t thought of though. The one about “if you had to read it twice… fix it”, reminds me of the saying that if you grab a shirt off the dirty clothes pile, do the sniff test on it, then sniff it again just to make sure… that you need to just put it back on the pile. :)

  10. Great checklist! Some of those I know will need work on my part (right now, I find my main char incredibly dull and LOVE writing one of the evil minions – if I don’t like her, I can’t imagine anyone else doing so. I’ve kept plugging away at it, hoping that her character develops into something special as I go and that when I go back to revise later, I can fix the beginning. She’s getting more likable, but slooooowly).

    Some of your points I hadn’t thought of though. The one about “if you had to read it twice… fix it”, reminds me of the saying that if you grab a shirt off the dirty clothes pile, do the sniff test on it, then sniff it again just to make sure… that you need to just put it back on the pile. :)

  11. This is such great information. I especially liked the part about which mood I’m in. Sometimes I read things I’ve written and wonder what in the world I’m doing. So now I can tell the hubby I need a nap! :)

  12. This is such great information. I especially liked the part about which mood I’m in. Sometimes I read things I’ve written and wonder what in the world I’m doing. So now I can tell the hubby I need a nap! :)

  13. The hardest part? Making sure what's on the page actually represents what was in my head.

  14. The hardest part? Making sure what’s on the page actually represents what was in my head.

  15. This is great advice. If we can’t be honest with ourselves about what we’re writing, then do we have any business writing in the first place? I think the hardest part of editing is realizing what must go in order to make the story better and a part of the process is being honest enough to admit when something isn’t working. Only then can we change it for the better.

  16. This is great advice. If we can’t be honest with ourselves about what we’re writing, then do we have any business writing in the first place? I think the hardest part of editing is realizing what must go in order to make the story better and a part of the process is being honest enough to admit when something isn’t working. Only then can we change it for the better.

  17. hardest part for me is getting all those edit issues covered in under 8+ full manuscript edit cycles! I end up going over the manuscript at least that many times. Would love to get it down to say a happy 4 fullbook edits…

  18. hardest part for me is getting all those edit issues covered in under 8+ full manuscript edit cycles! I end up going over the manuscript at least that many times. Would love to get it down to say a happy 4 fullbook edits…

  19. Amy D – I never thought of a bad sentence as a stinky shirt, but you know… it’s the same sentiment, right?

    Elana – I will use any excuse for a nap, in all honesty. But I have found that my mood really impacts my editing ability.

    LJ – No kidding. That’s by far the hardest thing about editing, writing, revising… our entire craft.

    Margay – Glad to help! It took me years to be really honest with myself about my writing. I think it just takes time, and growth, to realize what that means and how to do it.

    Sandra – It’s hard, I know. I used to have a lot of edits, too, but then I realized I wasn’t focusing. For me, all of my edits were because I was still experimenting. Now, I’ve decided that I need to focus on a single idea and make sure everything goes back to that idea. Does that help?

  20. Amy D – I never thought of a bad sentence as a stinky shirt, but you know… it’s the same sentiment, right?

    Elana – I will use any excuse for a nap, in all honesty. But I have found that my mood really impacts my editing ability.

    LJ – No kidding. That’s by far the hardest thing about editing, writing, revising… our entire craft.

    Margay – Glad to help! It took me years to be really honest with myself about my writing. I think it just takes time, and growth, to realize what that means and how to do it.

    Sandra – It’s hard, I know. I used to have a lot of edits, too, but then I realized I wasn’t focusing. For me, all of my edits were because I was still experimenting. Now, I’ve decided that I need to focus on a single idea and make sure everything goes back to that idea. Does that help?

  21. I suppose the hardest part I have with editing is the fact that I do a great deal of it more formally for the day job, which makes it hard to come home and revise my own work–even though fiction is way more fun to read!

  22. I suppose the hardest part I have with editing is the fact that I do a great deal of it more formally for the day job, which makes it hard to come home and revise my own work–even though fiction is way more fun to read!

  23. Kathleen – That certainly would make it hard to focus on your own work. What are some of the things you do to keep your motivation going?

  24. Kathleen – That certainly would make it hard to focus on your own work. What are some of the things you do to keep your motivation going?

  25. For me, there are two hardest parts to editing: The opening (which I’ve rewritten 6 times and it’s still not good), and having to cut scenes I love. Okay, I admit most of what I cut really didn’t belong, but one scene in particular, I’m still tempted to put back in …

  26. For me, there are two hardest parts to editing: The opening (which I’ve rewritten 6 times and it’s still not good), and having to cut scenes I love. Okay, I admit most of what I cut really didn’t belong, but one scene in particular, I’m still tempted to put back in …

  27. Marti – The ending is hard because we want to make a good impression. On Friday I'll talk about how to edit your beginning, hopefully this will help you.

    And if your orphan scene belongs to the plot and continues the story, then put it back in! If you're doubting the purpose of it, however, then as hard as it is, you should probably put it away.

  28. Marti – The ending is hard because we want to make a good impression. On Friday I’ll talk about how to edit your beginning, hopefully this will help you.

    And if your orphan scene belongs to the plot and continues the story, then put it back in! If you’re doubting the purpose of it, however, then as hard as it is, you should probably put it away.

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