Locking Up Your Writing Part Deux

Ready for more editing on this fine Wednesday morning? (Wasn’t I the most twisted English teacher ever? I’m pretty sure my kids loathed my giddiness for anything grammar.)

1-Check comma placement in compound sentences. Two complete sentences joined with and/but/or are fused with a comma where the period would go if you were to create two separate sentences.

Don’t: The door opened and she stepped through it to face her nemesis. (This could be broken up to read…The door opened. She stepped through it to face her nemesis.)
Do: The door opened, and she stepped through it to face her nemesis.

2-Singular Possessives – It is correct to use only an apostrophe following a proper noun that ends with an S, however, it is also correct to use the usual apostrophe S. Whichever choice you make, though, you have to show it in consistent fashion.

Example: Marcus’ (or Marcus’s) hand covered his eyes. Both are right, but keep it going throughout.

3-Sensory – Use all five senses in creating your scenes. A final read-through should be to make sure you included these with enough frequency to make the scene come alive for the reader. I realized after a few re-reads of Enemy that I’m missing the element of sound. I’m a visual learner–always have been. And besides dialogue, the occasional sigh or the roar of battle, the book is pretty quiet. That’s something I need to go back and fix if I want it to be a stronger read. Don’t forget “The Five”.

Aim for at least one sense other than sight on each page. But come on, we all know it should be far more than one, right? Right? Good.

4-Dialogue Tags – Action tags are stronger and can be used to show the character’s emotion. If both a dialogue and action tag are used, keep the action and delete the dialogue. Don’t leave in non-descript action tags like ‘he smiled,’ “he nodded,” “he laughed.” These don’t relay enough information. If you keep them, add to them.

EXAMPLE: “Even my mother is excited about it,” Meg said with a smile. “She’s already planning the wedding.”
BETTER: “Even my mother is excited about it.” Meg smiled and set her glass aside. “She’s already planning the wedding.”
BEST: “Even my mother is excited about it.” Meg forced a tight smile as she set her glass aside to keep from spilling it. “She’s already planning the wedding.”

See what a difference a highly evolved tag makes?

*As for me…I had not one, but TWO fantastic plot sessions yesterday. I swear I have the best friends ever. This next project is proving to have more conflict, more depth, and more emotional tugs than anything I’ve written before it. And I’m so excited to get started! More fine tuning this week for me and then I’m back to the drawing board…or keyboard, as it were.

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This entry was posted in editing.

2 comments on “Locking Up Your Writing Part Deux

  1. MT says:

    What a great summary. I didn't realize it was okay to use an 's with words that end in s, so long as we're consistent. Good to know.Have a great week!

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