So, these past three Mondays, I’ve been giving revision tips to help with people’s stories. And this is the last in the series! I know! I know! The horror!
Get ready writers and put your revision hats on. As I write this, we’re in lockdown because of CoVid-19 aka the coronavirus, and I know you all just want to draft and eat, but get dressed and do the hard stuff, too. Revising makes your book so much stronger.
11. GIVE YOUR CHARACTERS A REASON
Do not have your hamster kill your cat without a motivation. The cat’s tormenting? That’s a reason. The cat’s snoring? That’s a motivation.
Every character has to have a want and a motivation, a reason for doing what they do.
In other words: Your characters need to make sense.
12. THINK ABOUT TIME FRAME
Should your story be an hour in the protagonist’s life? A day? A year? Does it really need to end with the prom? Plath says to think of the story as “an image stamped in Silly Putty, until it became distorted and possibly more interesting?”
Pull out that image. Think about how long your story is in the character’s life.
13. ADD SOME TEXTURE
Think about figurative language. Think about symbols and allusions and metaphors. Use the tools of literature and the sounds of poetry to make your story resonate.
But, um, don’t put a simile in every paragraph.
14. MAYBE YOU SHOULD GO UNRELIABLE
Narrators who are reliable are sometimes narrators who are boring. What would happen if yours went to the dark side?
15. BE TRIVIAL. BE DEEP
We want to hear what matters to the character and what trivial parts of his/her existence make him/her real. If she’s a bus driver. Let us know how that impacts her thinking. Let us see her job.
PART TWO OF THESE TIPS IS HERE!
These revision tips this week are all originally from James Plath’s article “Twenty-one Tweaks to a Better Tale,” which was published in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF NOVEL WRITING, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinatti, Ohio, Edited by Meg Leder, Jack Heffron, and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.
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Continue reading “How to Make a Good Book Better – Revision Tips of Awesome – Part Three”