Novelist, Do You Use Visuals?

I am huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. I love his wild genius and untamed spirit combined with the relentlessness he uses to solve a case. Now, I understand this is fiction, but those abilities are quite attractive to the would-be novelist.

Though I don’t have these super powers, I can incorporate some of his tricks to my writing life, and so can you.

One such practice that has assisted my progress lately is having a white board where my I can take in my tasks, ideas, and notes at a glance. I can keep track of my tasks of the week and erase them when I am done, which is tremendously rewarding and gives me a hunger to attack another. I am able to pause after a furious fit of writing to check on the direction of my current chapter to make sure it is on target.

This does not have to be an expensive endeavor, my wife surprised me with the cardboardesque wipe boards (because she is awesome) and some dry erase markers (more awesomeness) for about $10.00. Not bad.

So writer, do you use visuals? If so, please share below!

Cheers,

Bob

The Meticulous Edit

Lately I’ve ignored my blog. Not because I did not want to write on it, but because I am working on a self imposed deadline and I have had to dedicate all of my writing time to my novel. It’s the great tug of war between project and platform and I’ve lost. But I’m okay with that.

The joy of my novel has returned after being sucked dry by the upheaval and Editingenhancement of various plot details. Now, I’m flying through while examining each comma, period, adjective, and sentence. I’ve become a better writer and am editing faster and faster as I encounter the same mistakes. It’s like revisiting a photo album and watching yourself grow up as a writer as the novel goes along.

Here are some things that I’ve done to reduce waste. I realize the more I strip down each sentence, the better the flow of the story is.

  1. Destroy all prepositional phrases. Most of the time I realize these are unnecessary and each sentence is clearer when they are removed.
  2.  Delete long meandering paragraphs of description. I had a lot of these and they were darlings but I had to kill them. When I examine them in compared with my target audience (children 14-18), they must go. Young adult fiction has no time to wander about as it must contend with video games, online videos and the like.
  3. Look for duplicate words in the same paragraph and either cut them out or add something new.
  4. Be wary of adverbs. Excitedly, jovially, whatever-ly. I try to remove them all. However there are times when I feel they belong.
  5. Look for descriptive but non-descriptive words – large, small, box, red, dirty, bad smell and replace them with another more colorful one – gargantuan, miniscule, trunk, crimson, soiled, and pungent. Sometimes you’ll find one of these words takes the place of three.

These are just a few problems that I look for when editing and is just the tip of the iceberg. The main objective is to make each sentence as lean as possible.

If you are editing and have tips of your own, please share them in the comment section below. Otherwise, happy writing and editing.

Cheers,

Bob