HOW TO PERFORM TRIAGE ON YOUR NOVEL
When a patient is first brought to the emergency department, they are assessed. Now, if they have a sprained wrist and a broken leg, it’s the broken leg which gets sorted first. A doctor wouldn’t attend to the headache while the patient bleeds to death.
So when editing, which area of a novel needs attending to first? Yes, it’s your main character. Readers are discerning and if they can’t identify with your main character, they lose interest and it doesn’t matter how exciting the plot, it’ll be a two dimensional story. And it’s the easiest thing in the world to put a book down.
Once you’ve sorted your character, inner and outer conflicts (leave out either of these and you’ve lost an opportunity to involve the reader more deeply), then you can move on to plot, setting and language etc. etc. because it’s how your character deals with the life situations you place them in which grips the reader.
So... I’ve finished the first edit of strand A where I hope I’ve done the bulk of the work needed to stop my protagonist haemorrhaging all over my story. Yeah! I am chuffed to bits at getting this far.
Holly Isle (see link below) has an article on a one sweep edit which got me moving through my work quicker than I’d anticipated. But I know I still have a second edit to do – with possibly a third and hopefully final one because there are aspects which still need sorting, but certainly the major problem – my protagonist – has undergone quite a bit of surgery. But I’m going to give strand A a break, get some of that vital distance, before returning for the next round of editing.
And tomorrow, start of the week – always a good day to start something new – I’ll start my attempt at the one sweep edit on Strand B. I know my characters here are stronger but as it takes place in the past, it’s research and getting those important details correct which can be time consuming. I haven’t looked at this strand since before Christmas so today I’m going to enjoy the feeling of having climbed one mountain before setting off to tackle the next.
ON THE BUS COMING HOME
sitting, watching street lights pass,
I find reading a good article on any aspect of the writing craft can give that extra bit of drive which keeps me going. On that note, here’s a link to an interesting article on blogging.
Here are a couple of websites about writing whose advice helps me in my writing;
And if you haven’t read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’, I would suggest you do.
For all book lovers out there, I wish you good reading and for those of you who write, good writing.
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