My kids love to listen to the soundtrack I made for my next WIP. It conjures up thoughts of mischief, playfulness, sneakiness. It makes them smile and act silly. Now to just write the darn thing so it lives up to their expectations. Two chapters down about eight to go. Can’t wait to knock out this rough draft and see what becomes of this story!
Here’s a list of small things to pay attention to when editing your Work in Progress (WIP).
1. Do you have any ticks? I seem to like the words but and just a lot! What words do you overuse? A neat way to find out is to take a chapter of your WIP and copy it to Wordle. Wordle.net will take your text and make a word cloud of it. The size of the word correlates to the frequency of its use.
2. Examine your minor characters. What makes them stand out as the unique individuals that they are?
3. Check your chapters for sensory description. Have you used all five senses at least once per chapter?
4. Does your main character, antagonist, sidekick have any nuance? If so, do they carry it through the whole story? Or do you throw it in heavily in one area then forget about it?
5. Try writing a scene that still gives you trouble from a different point of view. If your story is written from first person, write the scene in third person omniscient so you can get a broader perspective of what’s going on. If it’s written in third person, switch to first person. Get inside your character’s head and understand what they are thinking and feeling.
6. Try to reduce word count by 10%. Ya, that’s a tough one!
7. If your not sure about the direction your story is going, try making a what-if tree. Kind of like a family tree, but instead of people, give each event 2 or 3 possible outcomes. For each outcome, give 2 or 3 new situations. Go crazy and push your brain.
8. Check settings. Is the setting clear in each chapter. When you shift settings, what does your character notice there?
9. Write out the major character traits you have for each of your main characters (protagonist, antagonist, sidekick). Do they stay true to the core of who they are throughout? If not, are any changes justifiable and believable?
10. Dialogue: Can you take out the dialogue tags and tell who the speaker is? If not, fix it. There’s very little room for neutral lines. (Like “Ya, I know).
What is missing from this list? Write a comment and share your wisdom!
Caught you! You’re procrastinating too, aren’t you? Why else would you be online right now? That’s okay. You’re in good company here! In fact, I have ten ways to put off starting that next writing project.
10. Look for pictures to help sort out what your characters look like, then get caught organizing pictures and possibly making a photo album on Shutterfly.
9. Make a sound track of your story to listen to while writing. Right now I’m searching for playful, whimsical instrumental music that fits my new MC’s attitude.
8. Pick out the clothes that make you feel like a writer, including a thinking cap. Why, yes, that is my thinking cap I’m wearing in my picture.
7. Buy a new journal just for this project to record this idea and that idea that will pop up and will need a place to be recorded. If you can find a water proof journal, please let me know. My brain tends to think of wonderful ideas while I’m showering, which are long gone by the time I’m dressed. Dag nab it!
6. Put new batteries in your dictaphone, because you know new ideas will pop in while your driving and your best ideas will occur when you have no dictaphone or paper and pen nearby. Hope your memory is better than mine!
5. Find said dictaphone. (Hmmmm, the MC of my next book may be to blame for missing dictaphone.)
4. Organize the garage because you know once you begin this project its going to swallow you up until its finished with you and your garage will remain a disaster zone until then.
3. Buy new ink and paper for your printer. Sometimes you need to be practical, right? And while you’re out, stop at Pier 1 because a new season is around the corner and you need to decorate your house for the new season before you start writing. Or else IT WILL NEVER GET DONE!
2. Eat your favorite writing meal/food. Who am I kidding? Get a glass of wine. (Unless, of course you’re a young author. In that case, get yourself a couple cookies first. Oh, okay, adults, you can have a couple cookies too. Just don’t have it with the wine. Not a good combination!)
1. Make a procrastination list to post on a blog.
Enough procrastinating! Go write some awful sentences! Don’t worry, they will get better. Just gotta get the awful ones out of the way first. Be Brave! Write!