I've been writing for over twenty years. Writing is the hardest endeavor I've undertaken. Its been a passion since I started my first novel a very long time ago.
My first novel is terrible, but that's the way its supposed to be. I keep telling myself, "Don't be discouraged no matter what. Keep writing. Keep at it."
I have gotten serious about publishing since finding lulu.com. Lulu makes it so I can complete my works myself with little help from anyone else. It gives me the ability to complete my expression in my way without having to worry about trying to express it to someone else's ideals.
This post is meant to serve as a personal introduction as well as a short guide to some of the tricks I've developed to try and make my writing more readable.
Authors in general need to have certain qualities, here's a list I came up with:
2. Ability to tell a story.
3. Excellent written communication skills.
4. A strong desire to express ideas / convey meaning.
5. Steadfastness akin to a sled dog.
6. Open heart and mind.
7. Thick skin.
I'm not going to fully explain these at this time and I reserve the right to edit the list. It is a work in progress.
Many writers have issues with one or more of the items on this list. Personally my biggest area of issue is number 3.
Why? Because I love stories. I love creating them. I love the characters that come out of them. I love to force circumstances on characters and see how they act and react. I love to use my imagination to contemplate the human condition and stories are my way of discovering myself through an inner process of creation.
Here in lies the rub. I love the stories so much and can see them so vividly in my imagination that I often completely lose sight of the words on the page. So my writing almost never expresses my story in a highly readable way. Thus my friends, who help me edit, are constantly saying: "this is really rough" or "if I picked up a book that read like this, I'd put it down because the author obviously didn't put enough work into editing it."
It was difficult to accept that no one could understand the stories I write, but once I did I started thinking of ways to be a better editor. It seems that I'll never be a good writer, so I better become a good editor.
Here are some things I've learned to do while editing.
1) After first draft, which may have been edited many times while adding content, I tend to go through the book making sure the characters are self consistent and self motivated. I can't stand when writers turn their characters into puppets.
2) Unless its an action scene, I tend to paint each scene after first draft because I'm so busy being the characters I don't have time to imagine what they are seeing, smelling or hearing. I add those descriptions in later.
3) At some point I attempt to shorten the text by removing redundant sentences and extraneous words and phrases.
4) Since I have a problem actually seeing the sentence on the page, I have found that editing the book backwards helps me keep sight of the sentence instead of focusing on the content. I see the trees by walking through the forest backwards.
5) Soliciting feedback is critical. I alway pick people who won't have a problem telling me all their gripes. But I also keep in mind that I can't make all the people happy all the time. Different people like different styles and I have to keep to my own style.
Have you found any secrets for editing?
I'm pleased to be here at redroom.
Causes Brian McKee Supports
I support the cause of peace via peaceful means.