1. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    What to look for when editing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by louis1, May 22, 2012.

    I'm making a list of things to look for when editing my story. this is what I've got so far:

    - watch out for repetitions
    - grammar.
    - syntax
    - making sure nothing is boring
    - making sure nothing is confusing
    - making sure it's all logical. ( hair changing color or names written differently)

    Did I forget anything?
     
  2. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    make sure there is constant motivation for the readers to continue reading. read everything out loud, numerous times, slowly, to help you with your list. :)
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    - awkward sentences
    - What is necessary and unnecessary - because even if a scene you've written could beat Shakespeare to the literary genius prize, if it serves no purpose except to be pretty, it should probably be deleted ;)
    - infodump moments
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    *watch out for unconscious switches in tense.
    *Favourite words (words you tend to use over and over, but maybe that falls under repetitions?)
    *Check adverbs. Can you skip some of them by rewriting the sentence/choose another verb?
    *Spelling.
    *check if you overuse words like 'suddenly', or exclamation marks.
    *dialog tags. sometimes 'said' is enough.
    *descriptions, are they too many? Too few? telling enough?
    *nouns, are they precise enough or could you specify even more?
    *verbs, are they strong enough?
    *check that every scene move the story forward or develop character or conflict.
    *check the endings of each scene/chapter, are they interesting enough, so the reader want to keep reading?
    *sentence lenght, do they vary according to the intensity of the scene?
    *are character motivation and goal clear enough?
    *check motivation/reaction? Make sure the motivation precede the action.
    *Dialog- are they interesting enough? Do they develop character and advance plot? does the characters have their own, distinct voice?
    *check for clichées in expressions.
    I could go on forever, but these are some of the things on my list, and while I write them down, new ones keep coming to mind.
    someone else will probably fill in the rest. :)
     
  5. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    If it's not boring and not confusing, wouldn't this be a constant motivation for the reader? if not, what could motivate a reader to keep reader? ( remember i'm talking about the writing itself not the story) so suspense, mystery and conflict go into the category of not being boring.

    info dumps go hand in hand with not being boring. so i'm good with that. necessity of every scene is an obvious one also, but i'm looking for thngs in the way it's written, not the story itself. Thanks : )

    woah thanks, that's a lot. i'll have to go over these a few times.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    How about all the things you look for when critiquing? It should be an ever-expanding list.

    Begin with a self-critique. Be brutal. Find the three to five worst problems in the current draft. Those should be the focus of your next revision pass.

    I don't mean, "I misspelled 'naive' twice." I mean, "My spelling is atrocious throughout the piece, and many of those words are misspelled repeatedly." Three to five of that kind of problem is all you can really focus on over an entire draft.

    Here are some typical problems:
    Am I using words incorrectly because I'm using words I really don't know well?
    Do I have rambling sentences that try to do the work of a paragraph?
    Am I slowing down action scenes by overdescribing them?
    Do my characters all sound the same in dialogue?
    Is my dialogue trivial and boring?
    Do my descriptions contain redundant modifiers, like "rainy, wet, and soggy"?
    Does the story wander aimlessly?
    Am I using inappropriate dialogue tags to try to avoid "said"?
    Do I have tons of usage errors, like "threw" instead of "through", "sight" instead of "site", "loose" instead of "lose"?
    Am I head-hopping among points of view?
    Do I try to hard to be [funny | scary | romantic | suspenseful | literary]?
    Am I jumping through hoops to slip in unnecessary character descriptions?
    Am I infodumping?

    That's just a starting point. The more you critique other people's writing, the more things you'll learn to look for, and the more they will jump out at you when you encounter them.
     
  7. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    Do I try to hard to be [funny | scary | romantic | suspenseful | literary]

    Oh, that one hurts. but it hurts good. Thanks Cog!
     
  8. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I would think that the writing and the story go hand in hand in this circumstance. What I meant was, make sure the story is progressing in an exciting direction. If you have a character roaming around the street aimlessly, this does not motivate the reader to continue reading. There needs to be some kind of conflict, or, motivation, all the time, for the reader to want to keep reading.

    I'm a little confused at your response. Suspense, mystery, conflict, are all ways to motivate a reader. Hope I clarified.
     
  9. twilightguardian
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    twilightguardian New Member

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    How do you know what is boring or not? Say if you write something and come back to it at a later date and feel it is boring, yet it might or might not be. You think that your reader might be bored by it.
     
  10. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I don't have a checklist. I just read it over and look for anything where I don't like the way I wrote it and/or think I could improve it.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Most writers seem to know which portions of their stories drag. Usually, the problem is that they believe it's a necessary section or scene. In many cases, it really isn't needed at all, or it can be replaced by something more interesting and more concise.
     

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