Got a deadline in a week, then off to copyedits. Now that I’ve made my first pass through the wringer, I wanted to share four major things I’ve gathered along the way. Things y’all probably already know, but if you’re like me, never hurts to be reminded. In mathematical terms:
- Action > Dialogue > Introspection
Have confidence in your subtext and confidence in your reader. Most people don’t speak directly. They say one thing while thinking another. If you can show/imply their internalization without saying it, with less dialogue, that’s the best course of action. Trust your reader to infer.
A very straightforward example:
He lifts the pilot’s head by the scruff and turns him so I can see the carnage. “Well done, Twenty-five. You have helped us deal with a dangerous security threat.”
Bile rises in my throat. I swallow it back, breathe through my nose, force a smile. “Glad to be of service.”
- Less > More
Have confidence in your readers. Have confidence in yourself. Kill introspection. Trust that you’re showing what you want to show. Let the reader infer your meaning. Readers might disagree on the meaning here and there, and that’s okay. That’s life. Open yourself to interpretation. This will also amp up your pace. (ABC: Always Be Pacing)
- 1 > 2 > 3…
Kind of like less being more, eliminate repetition. SELF EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS (Browne and King) has an excellent section on this. Repetition weakens effect. On a paragraph level, this is more obvious. For me, repetition occurred more at a scene level. The scenes were different, but the take home was similar. Not only does this weaken the effect, it weakens the tempo (ABT as well).
- More Dragons > Fewer Dragons
Not really my editor’s feedback. Just my personal belief =D
Joshua McCune is the author of the Talker 25 trilogy (Greenwillow). Dragons, war, romance (though not with dragons – I don’t do bestiality). First one drops in early 2014