Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is day one of this new series, and I’m very excited to be part of it.
This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.
To kick off this series, I’d like to talk about becoming your own self-editor.
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!
Why Learn How To Self-Edit?
With the advent of self-publishing, there is no one stopping a writer from publishing poor fiction that does not sell.
So what can new fiction writers do to ensure they’ve written a story that works and is ready to share?
They need to complete a big-picture story edit and rewrite the first draft.
Science fiction novelist Michael Crichton agrees when he says: “Great books are not written–they’re rewritten.“
But big-picture editing and rewriting is hard and can take months to complete.
Today, I’ll give you a place to start with a focus on plot.
Plot describes the events that take place in your story. The events occur in a sequence, and that sequence forms the structure of your novel. You’ll most likely have a main plot and one or two subplots. Your protagonist (main character) follows the main plot. Secondary characters follow the subplots.
Your job as a writer is to evaluate how you’ve written the plot (and subplots) and to rewrite until you’ve created a compelling story for your readers. Then you can move on to word choice, style, and copyediting.
Your plot is made up of scenes. If you make each scene great, have each scene flow from one to the next in a way that makes sense to the reader, and pay attention to the key elements of fiction for each scene, you’ll end up with a great novel.
The first element under PLOT to evaluate is the purpose of the scene. The purpose of the scene must relate to the overall story. If it’s not driving the story forward, ask yourself why you included the scene in your novel.
Once you know the purpose of each scene, you want to test how the flow of your novel is working. To do this, keep track of how you enter and exit each scene.
For entering each scene, do you:
- Vary the way you enter each scene in your draft?
- Have a hook that draws the reader into the scene?
- Anchor the reader in terms of point of view, setting, and timing?
For exiting each scene, do you:
- Vary the way you end each scene?
- Have a hook that makes the reader want to start the next scene?
- Use a technique that connects the current scene to the following scene?
Answer each of the above questions for every scene, use the answers to rewrite the scenes, and you’ll be sure to improve your story.
More Self-Editing Advice
If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing And The Key Elements Of Fiction and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction. Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.
Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?
Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app .
Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.
With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.
Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.
Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.
Happy editing and thanks for reading…