The plot shines with all of the needed pieces to keep a reader turning pages and the characters are memorable. It looks like I can close the book (or rather the computer file) and call this one complete….
Okay, not so fast. Another editing hurdle lies ahead to leap over and this one can be painful and lengthy…but here’s what you can do to make your pages shine even more.
Print your story out single space. Reading it this way will give you a whole new view. I found words and sentence structures repeated that I never noticed on the computer screen.
My biggest problem words were “Instead” and “but”. It’s not that I had to eliminate all of them—just the over occurrences. When I did a FIND of these two in Word, some pages lit up like a Christmas tree. I was then able to go in and either eliminate the word or rework the sentence. The difference in quality was apparent.
There are other words I collected from my mentoring experience with SCBWI that I searched for in my story. Many are known as “Telling Triggers” while others often slip into writing and can give a page or chapter a more passive voice.
It easily took me more than a week of spare time to sift through my 40,000 plus words and decide whether to let a particular word stay, go, or rewrite. Some needed to go for sure, but again the goal in doing this time-consuming step is not to get rid of every word. The goal is to take your writing to a higher level—one that will be noticed.
Here is the alphabetical list if you care tackle the task in your own writing. Just be sure to take frequent breaks!
Note: The above list is in JPEG format if you wish to drag it to your desktop and print it out.