Don’t Forget How Life Really Works
We human beings don’t always do what we should. We make mistakes. We say things we don’t mean and we have good days and bad days. When writing your story, don’t forget how life really works. To give your characters depth and make them interesting, they must be allowed to live and act the way real people would.
A good person can go bad. A bad person can be redeemed. A stubborn person can finally have a change of heart. People on the outs with each other can have a chance at making up and the closest of friends can have it out and never see each other again. This is what life is like and the ups and downs of it translated to the written page makes for a more colorful story.
Use A Dictionary And A Thesaurus
These two resources are worth their weight in gold. Do not attempt to do any writing without them! If you are unsure of rules of punctuation, grammar or composition, the dictionary will be your faithful guide. The Thesaurus is particularly helpful for better writing flow. In the opening paragraph of this article, I used story, storyline, tale, work of fiction and fable to convey the same concept (story) without using the same word repeatedly.
The Reality Of Rewrites
There was never a writer born who has finished a work in one sitting with everything just like he or she wanted it the first time. There never will.
Rewrites are the nature of the literary beast. And so is writer’s block, by the way. Perhaps these ideas are what daunts some aspiring writers, but it is not as bad as it sounds. Knowing going in that you will experience block and the inevitable rewrites can be freeing in wonderful ways. You will be able to use your time creatively instead of agonizing over if everything is perfect right off the bat.
It won’t – So here’s what you do:
Begin typing and let the story that you’ve been forming in your head flow freely down your arms and out the ends of your fingertips. Kind of put your mind in neutral and let your thoughts and feelings depress the letters on your keyboard.
When you’re finished, read it, print it out and save it.
Now sleep on it for a night or maybe two and mull everything over. Think of how you can say it better, make it livelier or slower or make it clearer.
After a day or two, go get the pages you printed out and make margin notes. Scratch things out to remove them. Add things.
Sit back down for a rewrite session. If you feel comfortable with letting someone view your unfinished work, get them to read your prose and give an opinion.
Repeat steps A through E as often as needed until you’re satisfied and can call it “done”.
If you decide you don’t like it at all, toss your pages in the trash and start over following steps A through E.
Actually, rewrites build confidence and with more confidence you’ll find you can work faster with fewer rewrites. A win-win cycle, wouldn’t you say?
One last tip: try to avoid thinking of your work in terms of monetary value – not every book is a best seller. But all readers want the same thing – a book or story that is informative, entertaining, well written and memorable. Knowing that all of your hard work – the researching, attention to detail and rewrites – will pay off in satisfied customers is truly the biggest reward of all.
Kasey Hargan is a freelance writer and author of Chris-Anthem: A Novella.