This week: Revise! Edited by: Annette
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|"You can rework material to death."|
"Writing, contrary to popular belief, should not be a form of suffering."
both quotes: Marcy Dermansky on Revising Without Losing Your Mind
Writing can feel like playing a game that has no guaranteed outcome as to what will end up being written down. Everything and anything that has ever happened to a writer is material lying in wait to be put down in words. Memory flashes of situations, feelings, emotions felt only once or over and over - they can all become part of our fictitious worlds. All it takes is a different point of view or a shifting of the camera angle to make those moments new for the writer and thus translate into a new and exciting-to-read emotion for the reader.
Creating cohesive plot lines that make readers want to turn the pages has the potential to feel hard to do. Especially when the plot seems stuck in some pointless, boring rut. As a writer, it might not be easy to spot those wordcount-padding moments, but a kind reviewer will point those out. Characters repeat a prior action for the third time in a story - without any further advancement of said story. The hero gets into an action-packed fist fight with random strangers who don't have any connection to the story. The weather, the time of day, or any detail at all is given too much attention when it is not needed for the story. These are bits of writing that need to be cut out during editing and revising.
As a writer, you might feel inclined to just not write any boring pages. Just don't write that fight. Leave that detailed description untold. That is not the answer. A first draft is for you. Some of those boring actions, pointless fights, or excruciating details are only for you. They help you to get a feel for the texture of your world. As you type or write those up, you open your mind for new, better ideas.
Yes, do write that first draft with all of everything that crosses your mind.
Yes, do delete everything that is only there to please you but does not serve the story.
Yes, revise, edit, proofread.
Yes, keep your own story in mind. Let it stand the way you wanted to tell it.
How many times and how much should you change your story until you can call it finished?
A one-night stand turned his life Ryan Clifford's world upside down.
#2246088 by Elycia ☮
| ||A Renewing (18+)|
Viola longs to surface from her grief and wake the land. If only someone would wake her.
#2259940 by K Renée
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|Replies to my last Short Stories newsletter "The End" that asked: "Do you prefer open endings or a definitive outcome?"|
Steven wrote: Open endings... not a fan. But I am also not a fan of book series. I like some but most are not good. I like a story to have a conclusion of the main action. An open-ended relationship arc is fine because that lets the imagination go, but the action and main thing needs to end. No villain appearing to say, "I'll be back," no scene of not being able to find the bodies, no cop asking about the next crime - just give me a standalone story. The worst thing is when you know you've got a multi-book arc to read and by the time you get to book 3 you've forgotten who half the characters are. [/rant]
I couldn't have said it better!
Soldier_Mike Salutes Veterans! wrote: Definitely the definitive outcome. In other words - when you say "Fini!", I'd better not say, "What?"
Yes. Leaving a reader wondering "What?" is no good.
Lazy Writer est 4/24/2008 wrote: It depends on the story I am writing as to whether I leave it open-ended or I tie it up nicely.
Some stories can be open-ended. However, it makes no sense to leave every single mystery and question unanswered and then not even tell what happens to the main character who is in obvious peril.
brom21 wrote: A little bit of ambiguity and obscurity can leave the reader in a contemplative daze-in a good way. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to plot diversity. My debut book I am trying to publish involves lots of time travel which may lead to confusion looking back at my manuscript. Thankfully, I made a timeline I hope will clarify things. lol. Fantasy works well with open ended conclusions in IMO. Fantasy is my forte. Thanks for the NL!
I am starting to think that open-ended and unfinished are two different things entirely. A story doesn't have to be "over" in the sense that everyone is dead, but leaving readers wondering "what happened what happens now? who is doing what?" is just not going to lead to repeat customers.
graybabe wrote: I wrote a novel which had what I called an open ended ending. It was for my MFA Thesis. My professor seemed not to mind it. I wanted to write a sequel to this novel and move on from where I left off with the main characters. I ended up tacking several chapters of the "sequel" to the end of the first novel.
Sounds logical. It's probably better now that the story is complete.
Louis Williams wrote: I prefer open endings done right.
If the open ending resolves most of the story and leaves me the reader to have my own say at the end, I'm satisfied. If the open ending is just them giving up on writing an ending, then I'm always frustrated.
That is a sensible middle-ground. I understand that life is not over just because a story is over. However, leaving every single mystery unsolved is, as you say, the writer giving up.
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