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Eminence
  • Eminence

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  • Joined: 18 Nov 2006

#1

Posted 25 June 2007 - 04:14 AM Edited by Eminence, 29 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.

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The following is a small collection of guides written by experienced forum members through the years that are sure to improve your writing skill, no matter whether you're a beginner or an ace. If you're looking to improve your writing, be sure to read through all of this carefully and take notes - it will all come in extremely useful to enhance your skills!

FORUM RULES & ETIQUETTE


• Plagiarism WILL NOT be tolerated. Plagiarism - stealing/copying other peoples work or ideas and passing them off as your own - is not acceptable, and measures will be taken against anyone who plagiarises others' work.

• Criticism is a part of life, and is a part of the forum - you must learn to take it on the chin. That being said, all criticism posted throughout the forum should be of a constructive nature - don't just bash someone elses work - instead, give a civilised reply about what is wrong with the piece, and offer help and advice on how the piece could be improved.

• Imagine working for hours on a piece. Now imagine posting it. Now, imagine nobody replying to your topic - no feedback whatsoever. It isn't nice to have all of your work go unnoticed, is it? The moral of this little story is - be an active member of the writing community! If you see a piece someone has worked on, read it, and reply. Leave your opinion, discuss the piece - don't leave it to other people to give feedback. Get involved!

• Don't advertise your piece around the forum, trying to get others to read it at every opportunity. If you want to leave feedback in someone's topic, then feel free to do so - but don't then say anything along the lines of "now check out my story", whether it's through a direct link or simple name-drop. It won't be tolerated - if you want to advertise your piece, put a link in your signature!

GENERAL POINTERS


• Before you hastily hit the new topic button in an effort to publish your first little piece to the forum, read other pieces first! You will learn a lot just by reading other stories on the forum, many of which are excellently written by talented writers. As well as this, you will be able to see the reaction to these pieces, and perhaps gauge what the reaction to your piece will be like.

• Be original! Remember, there's nothing wrong with a GTA fanfic - but don't just travel down the worn out path that others have followed. Spice up your characters; bring the world to life. Entertain the reader - nobody wants to read the same thing over and over.

• Write properly! Sure, scripts may be easy to write and skim through, but nobody wants to read a bunch of pointless dialogue. Unless you truly are writing a screenplay, don't write your story out in dialogue - structure it correctly and use good description throughout the narrative.

• Think your story through. Does it have a plot? Is it actually going somewhere? Sure, you can ramble on for 50 chapters about random things, but to entertain the reader you must develop a plot that is interesting to follow. Make the reader WANT to be reading on, and finding out what happens next.

THE GUIDES


Below are links to the different guides that members of the writing community have created and added over time. Think you've got something handy that could go up here, too? Feel free to PM it in and we'll see whether it'll be a good addition. Until then, click the links below to be taken directly to your preferred guide!

Bedrock Guidelines for All, by Brassknuckles

Guide for Beginning Writers, by Wingman

General Guidelines, by saltinespike

OTHER USEFUL LINKS


Summary of Guides

10 Great Ways to Jumpstart Your Creativity, from 'Dumblittleman'

Eminence
  • Eminence

  • Leone Family Mafia
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2006

#2

Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:36 PM Edited by Eminence, 29 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.

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PART ONE


Hey, all.

The General Writers Forum is different from the other forums for expression here on GTAForums.com in that each word and sentence our patrons write is reflective of time spent at work--thinking of the correct words, forming sentences, delving into the personalities of characters, and welding together elaborate plots. This is not to say that the other forums don't host true work, but merely that a story is not a piece of art in the same way that a computer graphic is. Your work requires a different level of criticism and interest.

I realize I have become stagnant and unhelpful in the General Writers Forum. Thanks in part to my indolence, the GWF has gained an ill reputation as a place where nothing is taken critically and no work is really cared about. I want to make my best effort to correct this. But I need your help, too.

One of the obstacles in reaching out to the patrons of the GWF is a genuine dissatisfaction toward saying the same things over and over. After seeing the same mistakes, I have resorted to making short, unhelpful comments that few consider and even fewer utilize. Can we halt the practice? Of course. That's why I need you to read this before posting your work.

A Few Bedrock Guidelines
--------------------------------

1. Quotes

This is my major qualm. A quote should include quoted material (obviously) and attribution (optionally). The standards of attribution are not hard to figure out. Let's take a look at the incorrect and correct forms of attribution.

QUOTE (INCORRECT ATTRIBUTION)
• "What a stinky piece of cheese." Said Fred.

• "What a stinky piece of cheese." said Fred.

• "What a stinky piece of cheese." Was the reply from Fred's table.

• "That's one stinky piece of cheese!" Exclaimed Fred.

• "Could you break me off a hunk of that stinky cheese?" Asked Fred.



These forms are incorrect. Incorrect.

QUOTE (CORRECT ATTRIBUTION)
• "What a stinky piece of cheese," said Fred.

• "What a stinky piece of cheese," was the reply from Fred's table.

• "That's one stinky piece of cheese!" exclaimed Fred.

• "Could you break me off a hunk of that stinky cheese?" asked Fred.


Attribution always begins with a lower-case letter.

2. Redundancies

I've grown tired of redundant (repetitive and useless) phrases appearing amidst the work in the GWF. For example:

QUOTE (Too many redundancies)
The hot sun burned us until 5 p.m., but then wet rain began to fall.


Of course the sun is hot. Of course rain is wet. Please, please , please try to fix this.

3. Seriously, guys. It's 'Colombian,' not 'Columbian.' And a single member of a Colombian Drug Cartel is not called a 'Cartel,' much like a member of a Chinese Drug Triad is not called a 'Triad.' Let's call a halt to this.

PART TWO


Hey all. In an effort to further improve the quality of literature in here, I have decided to compile the advice of past threads into an easy-access cornucopia of tips for beginning writers and hardened veterans alike. Because I'm cool like this, I believe it necessary to include both the imperative lessons of quotations, punctuation, spelling, and word usage along with written guides for the other topics. This way, writers seeking to understand the language better can learn not only by the teachings of others, but by written example.

Oh, and because I want a karma star. Continuing...

Plot--The Map of a Story
Written by BrassKnuckles
With contributions by Stewmitch and Candarelli, and excerpts from Write Source 2000

In the most simple terms available, the plot of a story is the meat of the story itself; it is the layout of all the events in the storyline. Your plot can be sketched out lightly, easily erased as you come up with new and exciting ideas, or you can attempt to stick to your original plot, holding true to a boldface storyline...provided that you understand exactly where you want your piece to go, this straightforwardness is a great asset to any who would wish to create a plot.

If you choose the first option (rather than sticking to a set-in-stone plot line, you take the skeleton of a plot and revise it as you write), then you should think about keeping that vague storyboard in your head. Other than that, there's really not much else you should do. However, should you choose to make a direct plot and attempt to hold to it, it is near necessity to write it down for yourself. Respecting this, Candarelli writes:

QUOTE
When writing a story, develop the plot in full before you start writing a draft. I used to be keen on improvising to achieve realism, but it works for very few people. Most of the time improvised plots go around in circles and have no definitive end. Write a summary of all the parts in detail so changing plot points in the beginning to fit with the ending is possible.


It is certainly a good idea to create yourself the outline of a story before writing, whether chapter by chapter, book by book, or using prominent events in order. However, it's also prudent to improvise and add on to your outline as you write; spontaneity is the spice of life. Therefore, you will find that it's an even better idea to blend the two ideals into a nice mix of revision and loyalty.

Here, Stewmitch talks about the importance of a lively plot:

QUOTE
Plot is the most important part of your story. Ask yourself, "What would be the point of a sitcom on NBC if it had no plot?". Okay, bad example, but you see what I am getting at. A plot needs to be deep and immersive. You want your reader to make him think he is part of the story. To make your plot interesting, add twists, turns, and surprises. Make your story worth your reader's time.


Good advice. A plot that has no curves, much like a woman, is no plot at all. Readers that follow blindly get bored easily. Moreover, if readers can see the next turn more than a few pages ahead, you need to buck up on your suspense! However, just like much of writing, the spicing of a plot needs to be done in moderation to create a balance. You can't be following a straight line nor can you take your reader up the Matterhorn and down again. The reader must be able to follow your story, yet be surprised at the curveballs you throw.


The Structure of Plot

Here is what Write Source 2000 has to say:

QUOTE
A plot has five basic parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Exposition

The exposition is the beginning part of a story in which the characters, setting, and conflict are usually introduced. There is at least one main character in all stories and, almost always, one or more supporting or secondary characters. The setting is where the story takes place, and the conflict is the main problem that really gets the action underway.

Rising Action

In the rising action, the main character tries to solve his or her problem. The main character should be involved in at least two or three important actions because of the problem. This builds suspense into the story.

Climax

The climax is the most exciting or important part in a story. At this point, the main character comes face-to-face with his or her problem. (All of the action leads up to the climax.) This part is sometimes called the turning point.

Falling Action

In this part, the main character learns to deal with life "after the climax." Perhaps, he or she makes a new discovery about life or comes to understand things a little better.

Resolution

The resolution brings a story to a natural, surprising, or thought-provoking conclusion. (The falling action and the resollution often are very closely related.)


Every writer should be expected to follow the above guideline to some measure, if only in order to keep coherency and ease in the reader. All the components of the plot are roughly equal in importance, though different situations dictate emphasis on different parts. For example, a dramatic piece usually places a great deal of emphasis on the rising action and climax of the story, while more analytical or low-key pieces emphasize the falling action and exposition, weaving together a story from start to finish and resolving all consequential problems.

Eminence
  • Eminence

  • Leone Family Mafia
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2006

#3

Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:37 PM Edited by Eminence, 29 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.

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We are all at fault at one time or another. No one is a perfect speller, no one always uses correct grammar, and no one can use the right punctuation every, all, and 100% of the time. And that’s okay. Here on the forums, we don’t attack people for a few spelling mistakes. But with that said, there are some things you should try to avoid doing, and instead of letting you find out for yourself, I have made a handy little list for you.

1. Please, please, PLEASE use paragraphs. There is nothing worse that having to read a 1,000 word short story that is all smashed together. That being said, do not double-space your entire story. Use this:
Single space withing paragraphs.
Double space between paragraphs.
[for those of you who have not taken a Computer Class, double space does not mean hitting the Spacebar twice. It means hitting Enter twice between paragraphs. Single space is either hitting the Enter key once or not at all. i.e., this list (the numerical part) is SS (Single-Spaced) within and DS (Double-Spaced) between.]

2. Try and use different analogies and statements. If you don’t mix things up every now and then, it will get boring. So don’t ever do anything like this:

QUOTE
I went to the store. Then I went to get some gas for my car. I was out of money.


By simply changing a few of the words, it becomes much better to read:

QUOTE
After leaving the store, I noticed that I was running on empty. Unfortunately, I was out of money.


3. Use spell-check. Don’t write out your story in the reply box, write it out in a separate document, then copy and paste into the reply box. If you use Microsoft Works, or Word, or a related program, it comes with a spell-checker that will catch most of your mistakes. However, these are not foolproof, and if you typed “add” instead of “dad” , it will not catch it. And that brings me to...

4. After you have spell-checked a document, please go over it and make sure you didn’t do anything that I mentioned above (i. e. ‘dad’ to ‘add’). Sometimes it may be better to go get a drink, a snack, a beer, whatever, and come back to your story in about 30 minutes. You will have a refreshed mind and will catch new errors.

5. Remember, you are using a website forum, so don’t think that if you italicized or bolded (or underlined) something in your document writing program it will copy over to the forums. You should either go ahead and put the [i] or [u] tags on the piece as you are writing it, or just remember what needs it once you copy it over. Another really annoying thing to read is:

QUOTE
I wish this had gone another way he thought, as the rain fell down upon his head.


Also, the 'Preview Post' button is very helpful to see whether everything is coded right, and to make sure it all lines up correctly and looks good.

6. Try not to post too much of a story at once. If you can, break it up into chapters, therefore people can give you ideas and comments, and you will know what to work on and it will get progressively better. If you bulk post, less people will be interested, because they don’t like to have to read off of a computer screen for fifteen minutes.

7. Take criticism. If you say “Man that’s stupid my idea is way better” then you look like an ass. Almost everyone here has good ideas and if you ask them a question, they will be happy to help you. But...

8. Don’t make an entire topic just because you have a question. If it has to do with a story you are writing, please post the story (or at least a portion of it) and the question, so we can see it in contrast. If you really have a question about something, catch someone on a IM service, or use the PM feature on the forums, but do not clutter up the Writer’s Forum with useless Q&A topics.

9. Reply to writers. If you are in the forum, and you se someone has a topic that has had 30 views but no replies, then please reply to it. Another really annoying thing is to spend hours writing a piece, then have no one talk about it. Once one person responds, it may bump the topic back up to the top of the page, and more people will see it.

10. Be original. Yes, this is a Grand Theft Auto forum, but the GTA theme has been done to death, brought back from death, then killed again. That dead horse can hardly stand any more beating. Is that hypocritical for me to say, since I co-wrote the GTA Saga, the biggest GTA story on the forums? Yes, it is. But it’s over and done with, and we’ve all moved on.

10, continued. Also, do not take someone’s work and call it your own. Almost all of us here are very well-read, and if you take something from a book, or the internet, or a television show, we will call you on it. It’s called plagiarism, and it is not tolerated.
Plagiarism of another's work will result in banning.

11. Don't make stupid posts. If you are doing something stupid, someone will catch it, and it will be reported, and it will be locked. By something stupid I mean like saying "Look at this awesome story!!!!!!!!!11!!!!1!1" and then have a post of:

QUOTE
Jack smelled a shoe.



Well, that pretty much covers everything. Now, whip out those keyboards and get to typing.

Eminence
  • Eminence

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  • Joined: 18 Nov 2006

#4

Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:38 PM Edited by Eminence, 29 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.

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I. Paragraph Form

Paragraph form is the most attractive style of writing, and will definitely leave a good first impression. Script style writing is overused and will not leave a good first impression. If you DO use script style, you should have a lot of good description.

Good impression:

QUOTE
“You have any extra bullets?” Fred asked another soldier, and gulped, trying to steady his breath. He looked across the whole field that soldiers littered, whether running, dying, or dead.

The soldier Fred addressed replied to his question with regret, “Sorry, bud, I only have a few bullets myself.” Fred cursed vilely under his breath. “Alright, listen,” the soldier had the superiority in the group, “we’ll all spread out and close in the best we can. This will be the last time, so bring as many with you. Anyone volunteer to be the decoy?”

No one spoke a word or did an advancing movement. Everyone sat quietly, sweating, dirty, watching the sergeant. He sighed helplessly. “Private Sousa, you will be the decoy. Come around and run as fast as you can in front of that MG. Run like the devil himself is chasing you, got it?”

Sousa was silent for a moment. He finally spoke in a mumble, “you got it, sarge.” A trembling, dirty hand reached for his chest and grasped a gold picture holder. He opened it and kissed the picture inside: a beautiful woman.


Bad impression:

QUOTE
Fred - You have any extra bullets?

Soldier - Sorry, bud, I only have a few bullets myself. Alright listen, we’ll all spread out and close in the best we can. This will be the last time, so bring as many with you. Anyone volunteer to be the decoy?

Nobody spoke; they only sat, watching him. He sighs.

Soldier - Private Sousa, you will be the decoy. Come around and run as fast as you can in front of that MG. Run like the devil himself is chasing you, got it?

Sousa was quiet. He spoke again.

Sousa - You got it, sarge.

He grabbed a pendant on his neck and kissed the beautiful woman inside.


Not only did the second one lack detail, but it left you confused and unaware of the tone of which the person spoke. In the first, you can determine that Sousa is reluctant, but in the second, you cannot decipher whether he is determined, reluctant, afraid, or happy. All you know is what he said.

II. Description

Nothing will soil a story worse than no description. If a man is isolated in a room, describe it! Is it clean or dirty, colorful or colorless, eerie or joyful?

Good example:

QUOTE
A bitter chill hovered in the air; the invisible mist of death, breathing softly. The room was a dim box. A lone lamp sat upon a rotting table in the corner, its power strong enough only to display the passing dust particles floating within its ray of vision. They danced like glowing orbs in the light’s beam.

A bed sat next to the table; its sheet drooped slightly off the side. It was softly coiled around a pale body, slumped on the bed; her left arm protruding over the edge limply. Her eyes remained open, as did her mouth: an eternal expression of ultimate fear and surprise. Her features were pallid and wax-like – a lonely corpse gasping for air.

It didn’t take him long. She didn’t see it coming. She had satisfied her purpose, and after returning from a short journey to the bathroom, his hands grasped her neck firmly. Her struggles came to no avail; it was too late. Life escaped her.

A flash lit up the room. Outside, a car rolled to a slow halt. Its headlights pierced through the blinds, ghostly silhouettes spawning on the walls. Marcus awoke from his trance. The engine hissed loudly outside, the mechanism spitting noise out demonically. The sound vanished. The lights went out.


Bad example:

QUOTE
A body occupied a bed, eyes and mouth open, she looked scared. He killed her quickly, by the element of surprise. She struggled, he was strangling her. Soon after, she went limp and stopped struggling, dead. Car lights hit the room, waking Marcus up. The car stopped.


The first is very detailed and paints a very vivid image in the reader's mind. The second one, not so much.

III. Grammar

I cannot stress enough how horrifying a story with improper grammar can be to read. Have Microsoft Word? Use it! Have Mozilla Firefox? Use it! Basically, find spell check. If it is impossible to do so, send it to me or Eminence, and we will help you out, by fixing grammatical errors. That is how much I despise grammatical errors.

IV. Pointers

- read other pieces
- be original
- write properly i.e. use narrative not just dialogue
- develop a plot

Eminence
  • Eminence

  • Leone Family Mafia
  • Joined: 18 Nov 2006

#5

Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:40 PM Edited by Eminence, 29 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.

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10 Great Ways to Jumpstart Your Creativity
Source: Dumblittleman
Suggested by: Masterkraft

The Unvirginiser
  • The Unvirginiser

    You ain't gettin' your tings?!

  • Andolini Mafia Family
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2007

#6

Posted 16 July 2009 - 03:53 AM

Just found this over on Listverse.com, I found it a good read and i'm sure that it can help all of us.



1. Activate your sentences

By avoiding the use of passives in your sentences, you can give strength to your words. Passive verbs include “is”, “were”, “was”, “could have”, “would have”, and so on. Take this sentences for example:

The mouse was eaten by the cat (”was eaten” is in the passive voice). A better sentenced would be:
The cat ate the mouse (”ate” is in the active voice).

You can remember this difference easily by recognizing the subject and object of the sentence: the cat is the subject, the mouse is the object. If the subject is “doing” the verb (in this case “to eat”) then the sentence is in the active voice. If the subject is not the actor, it is in the passive voice. Unfortunately for us English speakers, we have almost lost the clear differentiation between subject and object that other languages have, so you must think harder to determine the subject and object. The difference does remain in a few words, for example who (subjective) and whom (objective), I (subjective) and me (objective).

2. Abolish Index words

You should avoid index works whenever possible. Index words are “this”, “that”, “these”, etc. Here is an example that better illustrates the point:

The American colonials went to war with England. They hoped to achieve independence through doing this.

The sentence above would be better rendered:

The American colonials went to war with England. They hoped to achieve independence on the battlefield.

I realize that the sentence above is not the finest prose around, but it illustrates the point. The second sentence is stronger than the first.


3. Kill the Romance

This may be a controversial point, but I strongly believe (as do many people) that, whenever possible, you should avoid the use of words that have come from the Romance languages (languages that have their roots in Latin – Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian). Our language grew over the years by taking bits and pieces from other languages – some Romance, and some Germanic; in fact, most Romance words have a Germanic counterpart. Germanic words tend to feel stronger and give more weight to your writing. Here is an example:

The British attempted to destroy the Colonial uprising in America. (Attempt, and destroy both have romance origins.)

A better sentence would be:

The British fought to crush the Colonial uprising in America. (Fought, and crush are both germanic in origin.)

The second sentence is much stronger than the first. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a Germanic equivalent, but you can normally do so with a good thesaurus in hand.


4. Rephrase for Clarity

Sometimes a sentence misbehaves – it just doesn’t seem to fit, or feel right. When this happens, take the sentence and re-arrange it. First off, mark the important points of the sentence, then rewrite it so that you don’t lose the core of what you are saying. For example:

Machiavelli mentions having common sense, being practical, and he talks about appearances being important in that one should look a certain way but not necessarily act that way.

You can make this sentence much better by re-arranging it:

For Machiavelli, the “Qualities of a Prince” include: having commonsense, being practical, and constructing proper appearances.

The sentence becomes much stronger (like the examples in the previous items) and your readers can grasp the meaning without trouble.


5. De-clutter your Sentences

This is similar to point 4, but rather than just re-arranging, we are removing all the unnecessary weeds. It is important to practice this skill because it will come in handy when we get to point 10. Here is a badly written sentence:

The last thing Machiavelli mentions is that one should always be ready to take on arms. He means ready to take arms as in a physical manner. A physical manner meaning with guns and fighters who are ready for battle.

Yuck. While you can understand the sentence, it uses far too many words to get its point across. How about this alternative:

For Machiavelli, one should always be ready to take on arms, to do battle physically.

6. Control the flow

If your sentence has a complex structure, it can be difficult to read. When you find yourself skimming text, this is probably the cause. Take this example:

Machiavelli’s essay demonstrated what the qualities of an effective ruler should be, however, he forgot about how the common people would react to these qualities.

Here is an improved sentence:

Machiavelli’s essay demonstrated what the qualities of an effective ruler should be, however, he neglected the common people’s reaction.


7. Dead Sentences

Like the plague, avoid sentences that are dead before they even begin. Here is an example:

It is often said that……., and how about:
It can be…, and
We can surmise…

Sentences like this put you off immediately. Your readers will simply not want to go on when they come up against these brick walls. How do you fix this?

It can be advantageous to take an umbrella when visiting London.

Fixed, this sentence might read:

When you visit London, take an umbrella.

When you read the second sentence, it is like a breath of fresh air compared to the first!

8. Short Sentences

Keep your sentences short. Long sentences are boring. Short sentences keep your readers interested. Short sentences promote clarity. Clarity is vital in a good sentence. Okay, that was taking it to the extreme, but the facts remain, shorter sentences do tend to promote cleaner writing, and cleaner writing promotes happy readers. Remember, you should not consider these rules to be absolute; some great writers have broken all of these rules to great effect. Here is a famous breach of this rule:

She had got up with these last words; she stood there before him with that particular suggestion in her aspect to which even the long habit of their life together had not closed his sense, kept sharp, year after year, by the collation of types and signs, the comparison of fine object with fine object, of one degree of finish, of one form of the exquisite with another–the appearance of some slight, slim draped “antique” of Vatican or Capitoline halls, late and refined, rare as a note and immortal as a link, set in motion by the miraculous infusion of a modern impulse and yet, for all the sudden freedom of folds and footsteps forsaken after centuries by their pedestal, keeping still the quality, the perfect felicity, of the statue; the blurred, absent eyes, the smoothed, elegant, nameless head, the impersonal flit of a creature lost in an alien age and passing as an image in worn relief round and round a precious vase. [Henry James, The Golden Bowl, 165 words.]

If you think that is bad, you should check out Book IV of Proust’s In Rememberance of Things Past, which has a sentence with an incredible 958 words. Having said that, don’t do it.


9. Punctuation and Spelling

please” Use: correct’ punctuation in. you’re Sentences!. Check Your Spelling Too! Bad punctuation can ruin brilliant writing. Always capitalize correctly (and don’t bother mentioning Cummings – he knew the rules before he broke them). The internet is the worst place for this crime, but you do see it in the written word too. You should start off with a spelling checker on your computer, and then revise with your own eyes. Only your eyes will pick up errors in “its,” “it’s,” “to,” “too,” and other grammar horrors of English.

10. Revision

Have you noticed that many of these examples have been about reducing the amount of text you have written? They are all leading to this final point: revision. In fact, it should be “revise, then revise, then revise again”. You must revise at least three times. More is better. Every time you revise, you should remove something. D. H. Lawrence once said that for every 100 pages he writes, 90 are junk. If you write a 1,000 word essay, the chances are that at least 3/4 of it can be removed. This is the same for fiction and non-fiction. Sylvia Plath pored over her poems for hours with a thesaurus and dictionary, removing anything but the essential parts of her work.

If you work on a computer, do your first revision on screen. You should then print your work and do the second revision on paper. Use a pen to mark the problem areas. After you have read the text in your mind and made your marks, go over it again but read it out loud and make extra marks. Now make the changes to the original and reprint it. Re-read it (in your head, then aloud) making more marks if you need to. Repeat this process until you do not need to make any more changes. You will be amazed at how much junk you find. No one writes perfectly in the first draft (except maybe William Burroughs, but then one can easily debate the meaning of perfect in relation to his writing).




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