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Showing posts from September, 2011

Why Being Wordy Isn't a Sin

Firstly, the wordiness in question is not really about the long-winded round-about-way in which we write sometimes or the use of too much verbosity, but rather it’s about being wordy in a narrative/descriptive sense.

Being wordy can create awkward sentences, but when carefully crafted, some sentences actually leap from the page because being wordy is what is actually needed.

There is a lot of debate about the use of big, flowery words in literature and how appropriate they may be within the context of the piece, but many critics sometimes forget that writing is all about expression and the freedom of a writer to express him or herself in whichever way they want. That’s what makes every writer unique, after all.

There are no hard and fast rules that state that big or literary words can’t be used in fiction, because they can, as long as they’re not over used and they’re placed within the context of the story. For example, flowery words that most people have never heard of before would…

Part 2 - How many rewrites is too many?

When it comes to rewriting, a writer can only do so much before it’s time to let go.

I mentioned in the previous article that five edits seemed to produce a happy medium – not too few that the work is not yet complete and things are missed, and not too many that the work is spoiled beyond repair and so I’ve used it as a working example.

Five stage editorial drafting process

First Draft – This is the raw material of any novel. This is the bare bones, the jumbled stream of thoughts and tangents that you’ve thrown into a messy mix in order to create your story. 

Second Draft – The read through and first edit helps you look at how the story flows and also pinpoints obvious mistakes like grammar, sentence structures and plot flaws and unnecessary scenes. 

You can start to ‘flesh out’ the story with more narrative, dialogue and description at this stage as well as forming those subplots and themes.

Third Draft – Another full read through to further tighten sentence structures, add more informat…

How Many Rewrites is Too Many?

Anyone who has ever followed a recipe will know the importance of the measurement of ingredients when cooking. Get the balance of ingredients wrong and you could spoil the outcome. This is also true with rewriting.

The question is, how many edits is too many? Is there a golden number? Can a writer edit a novel
ad infinitum, or is there a danger it will eventually spoil the whole thing?

The answer is as individual as the writer, but it’s all about balance. Every writer knows the importance of redrafting and editing and many worry about how many drafts they should go through before a story is ready for the world, but it’s about finding a balance that works for the individual.

Let’s look at the main problems of re-writing.

Lack of rewrites

On the whole, a lack of novel edits underscores a writer’s inefficiency and lack of experience because not even established writers can write a perfect story in the first draft – they may take several edits, and first time writers certainly won’t …

How Character Development can Drive Conflict

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A well-developed character is one that a reader can connect with on several levels and one that they will remember long after they’ve read your story.

If you’ve managed to build your character, developed him or her, made them overcome their flaws and weaknesses throughout the story and they have emerged a stronger, better character by the end of it, then you will have engaged the reader not only on an emotional level, but also on a metaphysical level.

All the fears, emotional difficulties, limitations, faults and obstacles the character endures is what your reader will feel, too. Not only are that, but all the conflicts the character has to undergo, are the same ones the reader will share.

How does it Work?

The character is always in a constant state of flux. From beginning to end, there is a constant cycle of conflict, decision making, actions, consequences and development.

There is a simple way to illustrate a character’s path:


Tension

The idea is to make your character face almost i…