by Heather Moore
News Flash: Registration is open for the 2009 Storymaker Conference.
This fall I attended the League of Utah Writers conference and took a 6 hour editing seminar. I think it took me this long to recover. So now I'm ready to share the love.
The seminar was taught by Elizabeth Lyon, who has a half-dozen books published on writing and editing.
So today, I'd like to share the notes I took on "Revise for Impact" since every writer will enter the dark abyss of editing at least once or maybe one-hundred times on each manuscript produced.
Remember, this comes after your first draft is finished. Go through your manuscript with an eye for the following things--it will tighten up your story and prepare it for your beta readers.
1. One word sentences (to emphasize, as a question)
*One word sentences brings a reader to a complete halt.
*It’s a stop sign. Make it an important word.
2. Take out repetitive words
3. Watch out for common words: look/walk/saw/turn are the most used words.
*These have no emotional or descriptive value
4. Use synonyms for common words like "walk": sauntered, scuttled, stumbled, tromped, scurried, ambled, skip, trudged, side-step
* Or "look": stare, regard, view, peer, gazed, stared, glance, examine, study, glare, leer
5. Power positions. Words that will gain more impact at the beginning and the end
6. Alliteration—rhyme or several words in a sentence starting with same letter--only use when you are doing so for a purpose.
7. Clichés—take them out
8. Repetition: former/past/history: This comes with reading the second draft and having a beta reader go over your story. Watch for those ideas, a beliefs, or desires that are repeated too many times. Remember--your reader is smart.
9. Watch the Telling first, then Showing. This shows that the author doesn’t trust the reader. Keep the scene and dialog that shows. Get rid of the advance sentence of telling. (I see this A LOT in novice manuscripts.)
*Metaphors: complete substitution
(E. Lyon recommends that you have a simile or metaphor on your first page).