1. chandler245
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    chandler245 Banned

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    dark novel editing issues

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by chandler245, Mar 31, 2009.

    Hello, I am some what new at this forum. I am also a novelest type of writer. I am currently editing my own chapters and I don't know if I am doing it right. Is there such a thing of using the same words to many times, giving to much information? Explaining too much in a chapter?
     
  2. SilverRam
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    SilverRam Member

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    Hello, I'm an amateur but let me give you some points to think about.

    Your working on a story, so you want it to be beleiveable. You want to suck the writer into the story, make them forget that they are reading a story. Thats what I love in a story.

    If you use a memorable words, lets use one of my favorite words as an example, ethereal then your readers will remember a few pages later. It will make them remember they are reading something someone wrote, and flow will be disrupted. Also please don't make it a habit to write in a way that makes the reader have to refer to a dictionary.

    Pace is really important to a plot. I can't tell you what is the perfect pace for your story, I don't know your story. And even if I did, I'm too inexperienced.

    Be careful with information. Dumping too much information at once can be overwhelming, and sluggish to the reading. Remember a "Her green eyes lit up" during action/dialogue can help with getting information out, and can help lighten that load. On the other side, waiting untill a hundred pages later to mention he has light brown hair, when I've already conjured up a mental image of him with black hair, can really put the brakes to a story for a reader.

    There was a really good page on editing that I got alot of help from, but sadly I can't find it. Anyway, someone that knows more about this than me can help you further. Good luck, and practice every day!
     
  3. chandler245
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    chandler245 Banned

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    Thanks for the ideas, I just feel like I am dumping too much info into one paragraph and then when I edit it, i am not sure if I had done that.
     
  4. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    SilverRam already gave you some great advice, so I'll just try to add on to it. :)

    He's right about making a story that sucks your readers in. If they can't get into it like that, they'll probably put it down. It's a real tragedy if they do so before they get to the "good stuff".

    I believe there is such a thing as using the same words too many times, but only in a certain scope. What I mean by that is this: if the reader is reading along and encounters the same word enough times "back to back" that they become aware of it, you've overused it. At that point, the paragraph, page, or whatever will just not sound right to them. If you use the same word a lot in your story, but space it out enough that the user doesn't notice how much you've been using it, I don't see a problem. There are only a handful of really good adjectives and adverbs for certain things.

    Synonyms are your friends, and thankfully English has a lot of them. :p

    As SilverRam also stated, you should reserve some words as "power words". Ethereal is also one of my favorite adjectives, but it is not a commonly used one and really should NOT be used very often in your story. Conservative use of "rich" words like ethereal allows you to highlight important details just by your choice of words, and doesn't spoil their specialness.

    Beware information overload. The reader does not want to be bogged down in details that they don't think are important. If you can't do without a load of detail about a certain thing, make sure you've led up to it in such a way that the reader understands its importance and is hopefully thirsting to hear it. If it's not really important, then condense or just drop it.

    That being said, give enough detail early on to guide the reader in their formation of mental pictures. Like SilverRam said, it's a painful thing for a reader to form a mental image of a character and then find out that the character looks a different way. You don't have to describe how the character looks immediately, but you should do it somewhere early in the first scene that they appear in.

    Along those same lines, don't feel like you have to spell out every detail of how a character looks. Capture the important, defining features and leave the rest up to the reader's imagination and preferences. Some characters also don't need to be described much at all, if they only play a passing role in a story. Readers don't care what the random guy at the drive-thru window looks like, unless there's something special about him and he's going to be important later in the story. If the readers aren't going to care, save yourself some work and don't bother describing whatever it is in much detail. ;)

    Pacing is key to a story, but I don't know if there is any real rule of thumb for it. Just use your intuition, ask some friends to read your work, and just try to write it so that your reader doesn't loose interest.

    Good luck!
     
  5. chandler245
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    chandler245 Banned

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    Thanks for the advice, I am just the type that I have problems with others reading my work. I feel exposed by this. I have only one person read my work, and that is my mom. She is an english major so it helps, but I don't know if she is being honest with me because i am her daughter, HELP!
     
  6. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    It's really understandable to be sensitive about your writing. However, there is no third option: either you overcome that anxiety and share your work with a broader audience, or you don't. It's not right or wrong to share your work. It is yours, and you can do whatever you want with it. If you truly feel passionate about it though, don't you want to let it fly free where others can potentially get something from it?

    I think you'll find that people aren't as harsh and "out for blood" as you may fear. There are certainly some who will misinterpret a request for a review as "please criticize my work to pieces without pointing out what I did right", but that's part of writing. Take the critiques in stride, try your best to learn from them (if they're legitimate), and try not to doubt yourself. It'll all be worth it when a stranger honestly tells you that they liked your work. :)
     
  7. crimsonrose
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    crimsonrose Senior Member

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    Random: ethereal happens to be my favorite word as well. And I thought i was unique. lol
     
  8. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    Don't feel bad--ethereal just kicks butt. ;)
     
  9. SilverRam
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    SilverRam Member

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    Yeah, it does, its just one of those words that looks and sounds beautiful.

    Another little point on pacing.
    I believe with practice the knowledge will come, and you'll know how it needs to flow. It'll just take time to learn that.

    On the piano, before you learn the left hand you must learn the right. Before painting a portrait, you must learn how to shade an egg.

    Phantasmal Reality provided some more valuable in-depth knowledge, but I'm going to stress that you also read. If your observant in your reading, it will provide knowledge that most of us can't repeat. I feel like I learn something from every chapter of a good novel.(or bad novel.)
     

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