They Did What?!

I [truly] applaud new writers’ enthusiasm for their newfound craft—it’s wonderful.  What I’d love to see approached with the same passion?   Editing.  Not just in terms of checking spelling and facts, and getting true/historical places and events correct, but re logistics and layouts … and “ability/capability”.

If Reggie just climbed into his Benz, how come he’s suddenly talking to the passenger from the outside?  If Lina stepped into the hallway, how did she end up [back in] the auditorium?  If Flavio grabbed Margie’s hand, why is he reaching for in the next paragraph?

think:  crisp and clean

How is Karen able to curve her mouth in response to Ned’s merry greeting?  How does someone wrinkle his/her eyes in reply to a flippant comment?  I’d love to know how Barry spun his head to view his girlfriend’s approach (sounds painful to me).  And Val’s eyes bouncing across the room—ouch, poor Val! 

think:  reasonableness and plausibility

Does it really matter that Zoey reached for the doorknob, turned it slowly, opened the door, stepped in, turned on the light, and peered around the empty room?  Do we need to know that Edwin was still looking apprehensive, so Anna extended a hand and touched his face, and he leaned his face into her palm, laying his own hand over it? 

think:  brevity is often better/best

Does everyone wear cotton?  How about mocha-brown suits?  Blue ties?  Do they all drink red wine?  Characters, like real-life people, should have diverse interests and beliefs, and be different.  They don’t all smile or grab hands.  Not everyone likes to play kissy-face.  And some folks are simply not nice.

think:  repetition = tedium

As writers, we want to pull in our readers as soon as possible and we want to keep them interested, so that they read [eagerly] to the end.  Providing unnecessary or repetitive details wears thin very quickly.  Mentioning certain facts/factors and then, later, not referring to them again—as in loose ends not being tied up—is also a faux pas.  Don’t get readers excited about a [potential] storyline or plot twist, then leave them dangling!

think:  short and sweet

Yes, it’s extra work, but having an outline is a very good thing.  Point-form is fine.  List plot surprises, incidents and events, and outstanding occurrences that should be returned to (tied up).  Refer to the outline, and often.

Remember, the final product is a reflection of you, the author.  Make it the best it can be!