Writing, revising and linkiness

I’ve written 18k of short storyness in the last 2 weeks, and then embarked on a mad 2-day revision spree.  My brain is fairly toasted at the moment, so I thought I would point you in the direction of a few good links while my grey matter still cowers at the base of my skull.

I’m a fan of Alexandra Solokoff for her brilliant writing advice, especially her attitude; writing is HARD WORK.  Today she talks about The Bash-Through Draft (aka draft zero).

Then when I start to write a first draft I just bash through it from beginning to end. It’s the most grueling part of writing a book  (the suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark called it “clawing through a mountain of concrete with my bare hands…”) and takes the longest, but writing the whole thing out, even in the most sketchy way, from start to finish, is the best way I know to actually guarantee that I will finish a book or a script.

Thanks, Alex, I needed to hear that today.  Coming back from a revision frenzy always leaves me reaching for perfection instead of progress.

In terms of revision though, now is a good time to talk about Weasel Words.  I can’t remember who coined the phrase, but Weasel Words are the weak points in our prose; the superfluous words that contribute nothing to the story.

From Vision: Ten Quick Fixes to Improve Your Fiction.

From Fantasy Faction: Ready to Submit?  Check Again…

And from Jennifer M Eaton: It.  I Really Hate It.

As an example, this weekend I revised a 9.9k story down to 8.5k by eradicating all the weasel words from the manuscript.  How did I lose 1.8k words?  Because you don’t just delete the weasel word.  You have to look at the paragraph around it, consider the impact and what you need to change.  Often you will find that a weasel word marks a weak passage that lacked strong action, strong emotion or impact, or in fact any relevance to the story.

Check out the links, then go hunting.  You will be amazed at the difference in your prose.

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7 thoughts on “Writing, revising and linkiness

  1. You’re so right about how hard that first draft can be to complete. The sheer joy you feel after completing it makes up for most of the hardship.
    Thanks for the great links, these will be so helpful.

    • No worries Kirstie. I like Solokoff’s idea of ‘blocking in’, getting the basics down so you know who is doing what, when. Everything else is just window dressing.

  2. Thanks for including me!

    I was really surprised by the changes that I was able to do removing the “its”. I am very glad you found “it” helpful, and thanks for spreading the word!

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