I’m up to chapter 15 in my rewrite and if you consider that I have 35 chapters in total I think I’m chugging along nicely. And it’s supremely satisfying to tackle those sections that have been annoying me. You know, the bits where technically there’s nothing wrong with it but I just don’t like it (see point 5). It stops the flow, or makes the character look like a dork etc, etc. So I thought I’d put together a simple post on how to make easy improvements to your writing. These are all things I’m currently working on *grin*
- Go through and try to remove as many adverbs (specifically those ending in ly) as possible. This should make a noticeable difference to the clarity of your sentences. Adverbs are useful, you will need the occasional one. Just keep as few as possible. Your reader will thank you for it. Most first drafts have buckets of adverbs so an easy step for your first edit is to cross them out.
- Keep your sentences short. The comma is a grand thing but really – do you need it? Wouldn’t it make more sense if you split it in two? Consider all long sentences. Some may need to be that long, most won’t.
- Try cutting out as many ‘he said/she said’ as possible. Good dialogue shouldn’t require constant tagging. Except for an initial intro as to who is speaking, you shouldn’t require any more tags. As long as each characters dialogue is on a separate line, you’ll find it easy to read and believable.
- Try to avoid over using the word ‘suddenly’ and exclamation marks…hehe oops..
- If it sounds like writing, rewrite it. If the reader ‘wakes up’ while reading your MS and clicks that they’re reading and not ‘in’ the book, it means it doesn’t flow. Yes, all the information/details are there but they sound wrong. Rewrite the section.