Revision Hell: Laying the Foundation

As I said yesterday, I’m attempting the first pass smoothing of this revision as I make my initial readthru with notebook and pens handy.  Obviously, I’m not going to bother smoothing sections that I already suspect I will cut, but this gives me a chance to spruce as I go.  After reading chapter one, I have 3 things to check on my list and I’m pretty happy with the opening itself — at feat indeed, because I usually battle the opening several times.

The foundation has been laid for this story — it just needs a bit of the mortar knocked off and tidied.  As I read, I’m making the following kinds of changes:

Repetitious sentence structure.  e.g. starting too many sentences with the same noun or pronoun.  See Spot sit.  See Spot run.  Run, Spot, run.  *yawn*

Misplaced modifiers.  I’m pretty good at catching these as I write, but it never hurts.  e.g. Standing aside, the open door was an invitation he couldn’t refuse.  (not from Return – I made up on the fly so it sucks)  So the door stood aside?

Incorrect MRUs.  e.g. according to Swain, feeling, then action, then dialogue.  Sometimes the dialogue comes first in my mind, so I type it, and then record the action/feeling.  I tidy these up now.

Before:

“Even at night?”  Sal asked, tossing his hair back over his shoulder.

After:

Sal tossed his hair back over his shoulder.  “Even at night?”

Wasted words, especially in dialogue and action tags.  When I have an action inside dialogue, there’s no need to add a dialogue tag, said, etc. 

Before:

“Great Vulkar, it’s an abomination,” he cursed, drawing his rahke only to shove it back in its sheath.  “How could any man or woman think to kill a child?”

After:

“Great Vulkar, it’s an abomination!”  He drew his rahke only to shove it back into its sheath.  “How could any man or woman think to kill a child?”

 

23 pages down!

5 thoughts on “Revision Hell: Laying the Foundation

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  3. This is all so helpful! I’m in the process of finishing a manuscript and all of these reminders come in very handy, since in the heat of the writing, I tend to forget many of these basics. :) Thanks Joely!

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