Monday, June 2, 2008

Edit Your Fantasy Novel - Part 2

While self-editing, think how the reader will view your work. Remember if you are to become a famous author, every word counts. When presenting your fiction writing to a publisher, (even more important if you plan to self publish), ensure you follow these simple rules.

As you are self-editing your fiction writing, keep these tips in mind.

Capture the Reader's Interest. Stimulate Curiosity. Don't Tell Everything. Offer Strong Images. Avoid Cliches. Involve the Reader. Keep it Simple. Omit Every Word You Don't Need. Don't Say Things Twice.

Example One. Capture The Reader's Interest

Take this sentence:
'The view, from the spaceport orbiting Oram 18 in the outer reaches of the Maddren Spiral, did not capture the interest of the Regency Baron or his associates as they sat around a viewing pod.'

In fiction writing the fatal error here is when the Fantasy writer uses the words 'did not capture the interest . . .' Here the writer has immediately lost the interest of their reader. They have indirectly told us that this is not interesting.

Compare the sentence when we change those words.

'The view from his private spaceport, orbiting Oram 18 in the outer reaches of the Maddren Spiral, captured interest while his associates crowded a viewing pod.'

Offer Strong Images. Notice how the writer's of 'crowded,' rather than 'sat' improves the strength of the sentence. When writing fiction or epic fantasy, always use strong verbs and positive writing.

Example Two. Involve the Fantasy Reader

'The aroma of rich coffee, brought from Old Earth, aroused the senses of the hero.'

With this example:
'As the hero inhaled preparing to speak, the aroma of rich coffee brought from Old Earth aroused his stimulated senses.'

Here the fantasy writer has adopted limited character driven point of view, rather than omniscient. This is one way to involve the reader. The reader is aware of the character's impressions. We see through the character's eyes, we share the character's feelings and emotions.

Example Three. Keep it Simple.

Compare this example:
'The hero signaled a drone to provide guests with a sample of the drink, before he drew their attention to the latest news from Rampart 6.'

With this:
'The hero's signal prompted a drone to provide each guest with a sample of the beverage. Only then did the baron draw attention to the latest news from Rampart 6.'

Edit any sentence longer than 25 words. Take care of grammar. Make sure each pronoun applies to the right subject. In the first sentence, which character drew attention to the news? The baron or the drone?

Example Four. Avoid Cliches. Offer Strong images

'Above the hero, the sky turned black, lightning cut across the dark sky. As sudden night dropped across the valley, the strange storm tore vegetation and rubble from the earth.'

With this:
'Above the hero, lightning shredded sudden night, while an unnatural tempest stripped vegetation and rubble from the earth.'

Omit unnecessary words. Provide stronger images. The writer does not need 'the sky turned black', since 'sudden night' conveys the same image. Avoid cliches like 'the sky turned black,' 'dark night' and 'dropped across the valley' are all pretty cliched. The verbs cut, dropped and tore can be replaced by stronger verbs.

Consider how the fantasy writer offers stronger images in the second sentence.

Things to Do.
Try to apply these rules to your own fantasy writing. Read the work of famous authors, explore epic fiction writing titles and see how other writers use these tips to keep their writing tight. Always keep a list of tips, hints and words to avoid, close at hand. Add to it whenever you come across any way to improve your fiction writing.

Example List of Words to Avoid.
Was, Were, Had, That, Still, Felt, Noticed, Saw, Just, Nice, Thought, Up, and Down. Also, avoid vague words like Really, Beautiful, Dark, Almost, Very, Just and So.

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