Thursday, June 17, 2010
Editing, the Process: Second Read-Through & Revision
What will I be discussing today? What to look for in your second read-through and major revision.
I'm not going to lie... This was my favorite part of editing. It really showed me that I was getting close to the goal. It showed me that if I could manage to clean up these spots, my story might actually be worth something to someone else. Other people might want to read it. (SQUEE) You want to feel this too. You won't want to throw your story away anymore. Promise.
You're looking for a climax. How do you make it work the right way? You have to look at all the coflict in your story. Make a list. Also, with each conflict, make note of how important it is to the plot line. You'll find a lot of minor conflicts that can seem important, but are really just side-lines to the story or the main conflict. Mine was my bad guy. No one could be happy or safe with him around. That's major to the plot! And so, I had to center my revision around him. The climax has to come when the major plot-riding-on-this conflict is going to be resolved. Now, as I say this, I don't necessarily mean there will always be a happy ending, but with the resolution, there is finally an answer as to what will happen. You're story should build on that simple question. What's going to happen to this/her/him/them? How will it all end? The way you build up to it, is to keep it constant throughout the story. Don't let the reader forget that question. Before you answer it, you want your readers on edge. They NEED to know. But if you do it soon, the reader gets bored before the end of the story. That's no good either.
You'll hear that the climax needs to be in the final third of the story, but that's too vague. You want the conflict to end in the second to last chapter of the story. It leaves the reader hooked until the very end and gives you a chance to show what happened after all that tension, to slow it down, to conclude the story or even set up for a sequel. Sometimes that means, taking a few of the conflicts you have in your story and removing them, or even a character. (I had to kill off my extras... :( Shame on me, right?)