With Paisley sitting with all of the other wonderful entrants of Amazon’s Break through Novel awards, it’s out of my hands for the time being. No matter how far Paisley gets in the contest, I’m not touching this novel again until April when Camp NaNo begins. There I will edit and outline book two. (In the unlikely event that I get past the first few rounds, I’ll have to reevaluate my April plans.)
Thinking of joining Camp NaNo this year? Let me know if you’d like share a cabin over there.
In this off month, I plan to gather resources to help me with editing, as well as write on other projects. Today I’m writing on some tools I use and linking some helpful resources from others that I hope to use next month.
Let yourself scribble. There’s beauty in disarray.
I tend to be vague, write too fast and skip the details. That’s what’s important, so I hear, get the words down and revise when you’re done. I try to do that the best I can. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. That works for a while, but when I know my writing isn’t strong, it’s hard to keep going. The only way I can combat this is to do exactly as I’m not supposed to; I go back and edit what I have so far. I look for missing details and try to come up with ways to set the scene.
Sometimes I surprise myself and actually really enjoy what I’ve written. The first half of my chapters have been revised at least ten times by the time the chapter is finished. I then go through the full chapter a few times. I’m left feeling like I have a strong start and lousy finish.
The funny thing about my process is that whenever I get feedback on my work, it’s always the beginning I get the most suggestions on. I really need to work on trusting my instincts and keep moving forward. What I’m writing may just be awful, but if it is, there is a good chance that it’s salvageable.
Throw out the clutter.
I’ve done some writing projects with strict word count limitations. The process of trimming down my words, strengthens my writing. After I flesh it out and add important details, trimming it down to the shortest way to say everything, leaves a polished piece of writing.
Adverb and passive voice are best used in moderation. I’ve always avoided adverbs, so that’s not much of a problem for me, but passive voice is an easy trap to fall into.
Ty Roper suggests a free website that identifies adverbs, passive voice, and determines reading level.
Read out loud.
Reading out loud isn’t just for high school speeches. If your writing doesn’t sound good out loud, it needs work. I’ll sometimes read my work out loud to someone else. When I start fumbling over words, I know I’ve reached an area that needs work. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if others do this as well, but when I read my own work out loud, I speak with different accents. I’m not sure why, and it can be silly sometimes, but it helps me recognize the flow.
Another great editing resource is Infinite Pathways which has many amazing editing tips such as words to avoid and dialogue tips.
Lastly, an invaluable resource I have utilized in the past is editing and writing classes though Education to go. My favorite part about the classes is that it really made me sit down and work on my novel as I was attending the classes.
If you have any editing advice or resources that you use, please leave them in the comments. I’ll be back tomorrow with ten new word prompts.