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Category Archives: Rewriting Fiction

Rewriting Novels Using Both Sides of the Brain

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Rewriting a novel can be daunting, especially with the many, many rewrites that are necessary. I find there is no right way to do it, but with all the rewrites with my third Beyond book, I discovered by accident a way to be both creative and practical.

Use both sides of your brain – the right side for creativity and the left side for the logical and practical. Let me explain.

Without giving away the plot, let’s just say, like most of my story lines, it is complicated. That means the characters, like real people are complicated.

So I brainstorm outside of writing time for what I could change. When I sit down at the computer, I re-read all the novel and make a few notes. Then I tackle it from the beginning, dealing with it in parts. As I write more ideas come into my brain. But each idea leads to something that will have to be added or changed later on in the novel. So how do I keep track. Sure, I can make a few notes in another file, but mainly I use the Word comment for this with some suggestions.Then I can go back and update later. However, often the creative spirit married to the logical spirit moves me to do so right away. So I follow the thread to the next part that needs changing and do so.

I’ll give you one example which won’t give the story away. My Beyond novels, as well as four stories in Beyond the Tripping Point, feature fraternal twin private investigators, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture. While they partner in their business, they do split up the investigation a lot of the time. One of the things with this is the twins have to keep each other updated with what they find. So that has to go in somehow somewhere or else later on I will be writing from say Bast’s point of view as if he already knows what Dana found out – but nowhere does it say this.The reader can’t assume Dana told him. But I don’t always want a long dialogue between the two unless it can move the plot forward and/or develop the characters.

So, I sometimes use the phrase “Bast brought Dana up to speed about….” or “Dana brought Bast up to speed about…” Sometimes I don’t even do that but just have Bast in his next investigative action think “Dana had told him that… ” and very briefly mention it. I  do the same with Dana and do so when what one twin told the other is relevant to the other twin’s current detecting.

But with all this to-ing and fro-ing something else different has come up – what would happen if one twin didn’t tell the other twin what he or she found out?

Yes, it can be a somewhat constant shifting to different parts of the brain and I find that one feeds the other. And often you are rewriting on the creative side during most of that day’s writing time.

Now if I can just follow through with my rewrite of Beyond….  Nope, not even giving away the title.

Meantime, you can check out Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Link to all that can be found in the usual spot – the book cover at the top.

And later this month I will be back on the PR road for the Beyond books, so next week will be updating both the Gigs and Blog Tours part of this blog (a fiction writing workshop I’m teaching in October is already listed) and also the book page of my website. And yes, Dana will be doing another comedy skit gig in late October – this time with a really big twist. Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Sharon. A. Crawford

 

 

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Recharging you novel’s rewrite

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

This week I finally got back to rewriting the next novel in my Beyond mystery series. The plan had been to spend a good part of June, July and August doing this. But for a change I had a lot of client work. That I’m not complaining about. Neither am I complaining about spending time gardening. As well as writing, gardening is a passion of mine.

However, I am complaining about all the health issues I’ve had to deal with lately, some caused by others’ negligence. (See my post this week on my personal blog Only Child Writes.).

Still doing one client’s work – but no complaints. Client confidentially doesn’t allow me to discuss the client’s work, but sufficient to say it is interesting and challenging and when it arrives I switch over from the novel rewrite to the client work.

Getting back to the big novel rewrite is also a challenge. Having ideas percolating inside my head while I was doing other things and also some suggestions from the editor at Blue Denim Press (my publisher) have been big helps. So has one of my writer friends and colleagues – Rosemary McCracken – just publishing the third in her Pat Tierney mystery series.And having a wacky main character like PI Dana Bowman is good. At least I think so, although she does get inside my head a lot and likes to have her way in her stories. All inspiration to do more than put the seat of my pants to the chair.

How did I actually get back into the rewriting?

First, I reread the novel and comments I had made for changes and also noted what I had changed. Then I got in and made some changes in the beginning and continued on until I got stuck. But I had ideas for other parts, including the ending which needed a big change, so those are the places I focused on next. I feel better that I made changes in the ending even though I know that some of it will be changed as more changes in parts coming before will be made. That’s okay. Often just doing something that is a change is a good start.

Writing the ending before some of the rest, you may ask? I am following the advice given by another author Ken McGoogan who said when he gets tired of writing in chapter order, he will go the end. Mind you he writes narrative non-fiction. But I think it can be done with fiction as long as you realize it is not written in granite. Well, some writers think their prose, and even their punctuation, should be left exactly as they write it.

That is arrogance and maybe a little worry that the editor will mess up your prose so it isn’t really yours when it’s done. And yes, being an editor myself, and a former journalist who worked with several editors, it does happen. However, there is one thing we writers need to remember.

Writers work in isolation. Writers see their creations with tunnel vision. Another pair of eyes will find flaws and better ways to express something than the author.

So keep up the rewriting. Although you can get carried away with that. Another author colleague is still making changes in his novels after they are published. And yes he does have a trade publisher, so not being self-published he can’t exactly make changes in the print book for sale. But he can do so for his author readings.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

If you click on the Beyond Blood book icon a the top it will take you to my amazon author profile and books.

 

 

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Using deadlines to write

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Writing deadlines are something journalists, editors, and authors with publishers have to deal with all the time. So does any writer who is writing a piece to enter in a writers’ contest.

But what if you are writing that novel, that short story and at this point have no publishing deadlines? You might think “hey, I have the freedom to take my time writing this story.”

You know how that can go if you are not disciplined. You might write when the  muse hits. You might write if you don’t have something else to do in a certain time. The underlying theme here is “I have all the time in the world to finish this novel, this short story.”

All the time in the world might expand to never finishing.

Why not set a deadline or if a novel, several deadlines, such as “I will finish so many pages, so many chapters by such and such a date.” If  you have an editorial deadline from a magazine editor or book publisher, or a contest, entry, wouldn’t you be working to the deadline? Wouldn’t that include setting up a writing time-line? Allow some flexibility for glitches such as what I’ve been encountering with my latest Beyond mystery book. Research replies. I finally had to go elsewhere for one (books and another police source) and in the case of the government agency with no email reply, I phoned.

Writing they say is1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. I have sometimes seen that equation as 10 per cent and 90 per cent. Either way you can get the picture.

Why not use deadlines for the perspiration part? I find doing that has an added benefit than just getting the writing done.

Often when you sit down at your computer in a specified time and write, the inspiration and creativity just kick in and off you go, oblivious to whatever else is going on around you. I’ve been unaware of night creeping in until I realize that it is only the computer screen and the desk lamp lighting everything up. (That’s excluding the creativity going on as I write.)

Speaking of deadlines. Please excuse me while I get back to rewriting my latest Beyond book. My publisher is waiting.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

If you click on the book cover at the top it will take you to my publisher’s page about my books and my background.

 

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More tales from the novel rewriting trenches

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Still working furiously to make changes in my current Beyond book to meet my publisher’s deadline. Making progress, despite distractions and glitches from others.

The research mentioned last week hit some more glitches. The social issue in the new novel (not telling what it is – no spoilers here) ran into the same roadblock with the Ontario government department as the police query with the local police services corporate communications department. No reply.

So, my journalist background came into play here. Journalists don’t give up on their research, despite roadblocks and twists and turns.

The two library books I had looked at in the Toronto Reference Library? Sure, I had made some notes but that wasn’t enough. So I bought the out-of-print one on Canadian Law (it fits the novel’s time period) secondhand from amazon.ca .Counting the day I put in the order online, it took three business days to arrive in my mailbox. The other Canadian Law book – a q and a type with questions for civilians I found out from an editing client that over 20 copies are circulating in Toronto library branches. I put a hold on it and if there are still some other copies not on hold, I should be able to renew my copy three times.

I phoned Service Ontario and after being shunted around three times got a very knowledgeable person in the specific department who answered my questions.

For that one nagging police procedure question that the two books couldn’t answer, I emailed a retired police colleague via Linked In. He replied immediately, answered part of my question and said he would contact one of his police connections to get more of an answer. I gave him my email address to avoid the Linked In quirks in email and he has replied again this week, apologizing for the delay and why (that is his business) and that he would be contacting his colleague that evening.

Meantime, I’m rewriting to get around anything that wasn’t true with the social issue and police procedure back in 1999. And also rewriting to deal with any plot threads left dangling. Some will get deleted as irrelevant.

Also there is the matter of my two main characters, fraternal twin private investigators Dana Bowman and Bast Overture trying to take over the plot. I have to listen to them because they can have good ideas.

And it is their story. Always listen to your characters.

As for the other distractions, I’m trying to rein them in. Personal calls that come during my writing time (which pretty much follows a business weekday give or take a few hours at either end), I will now let them go to voice mail. My dentist appointment will have to be moved to February 29 after my deadline. I have a big problem with medical people who don’t have some evening and weekend hours .I may ‘not be working outside my home, but what about those who do? Why should they have to take time off for dental and other medical appointments, Hey medical professionals. Get with the times. Yes, some professionals (like police, transit drivers, etc.) have work hours all over the map. But many people still work regular business hours (excluding email and social media). Medical clinics understand this and even my optometrist works one evening a week and some Saturdays. My eye specialist doesn’t. My dentist doesn’t. So, unless a medical emergency, I work their times around mine.

I have also worked in editing clients after the end of February and any new inquiries re work, they are being told I am booked up until … Two current clients have been scheduled in after the end of February – it is set up to work for both of us.

Now, back to the novel rewriting. Bast and Dana are waiting impatiently for me to get to it.

Cheers.

Sharon A.Crawford

If you click on the book cover at the top it will take you to my publisher’s page about my books and my background.

 

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Crunch time for publisher’s deadline for novel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

I am in the last month to finish the rewrite of the third book in my mystery Beyond series before submitting in to my publisher.. Of course, it won’t be the final rewrite. Once a publisher decides to publish a book, the author always has more rewrites.

I have limited my email time – I set a timer and when it rings I finish the current email and the rest can wait for another day. And I am particular which events I go to .

Some of the latter has been railroaded because I also just got yet another sinus infection over the weekend. So the two writing-related workshops I planned to go to, I had to cancel.

And with all my health issues, I am trying to keep medical appointments to one health issue a month. Last summer and fall when all these health issues kept coming and coming, often overlapping, I tried to deal with them all at once, including medical appointments. That caused way too much worry and anxiety and I might have had to add “shrink” to the list.  So, I’m trying the one-at-a-time approach and hope it works. Some of the medical people aren’t too happy about it. Too bad. I am trying to get more sleep to help heal.

But I like to rewrite what I have written. Sometimes the most creative twists in plots and character development occurs here. It is also a time to fix plot and character inconsistencies, get rid of excess and not necessary scenes and even chapters, smooth out the telling – get rid of awkward phrases and sentences, polish it all up. .And do final fact checking on your research.

It is the latter that is driving me crazy. A few new police procedure questions and also questions on the social issue in this novel have come up. And I’m having trouble getting the experts to reply to my emails and phone calls to get some answers.

My police consultant just retired and has moved out of the country. I am grateful for all his help with my other two books and this third book as well. So, I’ve been doing what most authors without police connections do – contact the corporate communications media department of the police services. I have emailed and phoned there and have received no response. It has been a week and a half.

Meantime I visited the Toronto Reference Library and looked at criminal code books from the shelves and stacks. Made notes as those books are not for lending. My book is set in late 1999, which is an added glitch. And did more Internet search.

Also emailed a government department’s service questions part. That was done two days ago and so can’t complain yet about that

I am also rewriting to change parts of the plot to fit in with what my research (at the library and online) has revealed, even to the point where I have a few options for a couple of areas.

But I need some answers.

So, I will try some contacts via Linked In and see where that gets me.

For those of you writing fiction, how do you deal with this type of non-response to your research questions? How do you get your rewriting done to meet your deadlines?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

If you click on the book cover at the top it will take you to my publisher’s page about my books and my background.

 

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Don’t rush your writing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

We writers all seem to have deadlines with writing our novels or short stories. Sometimes it is the publisher’s deadline, sometimes our own. So we fret and hurry through writes and rewrites and maybe don’t write our best.

Last Saturday I had a heart-to-heart talk with the acquisitions editor at Blue Denim Press (publisher of my Beyond mystery books). Shane had a big piece of advice – Don’t rush the writing.

If you rush it, you’ll miss things, make errors and your writing will come across as hurried. This is mostly me speaking, but including some of what Shane and I discussed. Note: Shane is also a published fiction author. Both of us have missed things because of writing in too much of a hurry. His error is his business, but it was caught in time before all print copies of his new novel In the Shadow of the Conquistador were done for the book launch, etc.

I’ll tell you my stupid error – it is in the current Beyond book (third in the series), I am writing – apparently too fast because of time constraints (too much else going on in my life – the writing, editing and instructing business, health, house, social, etc.) Anyway for  those familiar with my Beyond books, they are set in the late 1990s, although this third one gets my fraternal twin PIs, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture into the beginning or 2000.

Which is neither here nor there with my writing error. In one scene Bast goes to the Toronto Reference Library to look up old addresses in the Toronto Might Street Directory. So, I had him go to the library’s former address – now the University of Toronto Bookstore. Why? I had done research there and for some reason the decade  that I did so got lost in my brain, so hence my date mixup.

I had gone there in the early 1970s. Bast went to the Toronto Reference Library in late 1999. This newer (and current) TRL location opened in 1977. My error arrived in my brain weeks after writing it, as often happens when not actually writing. You can bet I made the change next time I turned on the computer.

That is only one of the many things that can suffer if you write too fast. Try to pace yourself and make more time for your writing – either in the time spent each day/week or the whole time (months/years) spent.

If you do that, when your publisher accepts your manuscript and you sign that contract, you won’t have to worry so much when the publisher suggests some changes.

And often publishers have tight deadlines.

I am constantly trying to prioritize my life – including dumping things, saying “no” more often and putting some people and things on hold.  Still an uphill battle, but I try. And I need to try to relax more.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available

 

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When to rewrite your novel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

When do you rewrite your novel? As you go along? After each chapter? After a few chapters? Or when you complete the first draft?

If you rewrite after you go along, it can slow down finishing the novel’s first draft. You are constantly changing words, thinking of better words or phrases, deleting scenes, and on and on. You may easily lose your train of thought. The best way here is to keep on writing and if you just can’t come up with a better word or phrase, do as I do put “word” in brackets. Bold or red it if you like.

After each chapter or a few chapters? Yes, and no to rewriting. Most, if not all of us will not finish a novel in one sitting, so you are going to have to go back to it constantly. This will involve reading at least the previous chapter. or at most, the chapters written in your last writing session. During this time, I do make a few word changes or even scene changes. The latter often comes from getting a better idea – either between the last writing session and this one or as I read. Or sometimes the main characters from the Beyond series take over with what they think is best. Dana Bowman,one of the fraternal twin PIs is definitely good at this. But other characters, such as her brother Bast Overture, also speak to me. This can be a good thing because maybe you stopped writing when you reached an impasse or you knew something you had just written didn’t make sense to your plot and/or what your characters would do.

To continue last week’s post on outlining or not. I mentioned that I constantly go up and down the screen to fix inconsistencies. So that means I do some rewriting as I go along there. I find if I don’t fix the inconsistency when I and/or my characters figure out how to do so,  it will affect the rest of the plot. SometimesI have to add something – such as bringing in some of the characters’ suspicious’ actions so when I out them as guilty of something later on it doesn’t hit the reader in the face, leaving them wondering “Where did that come from?” “Or “there was no indication of this earlier on.”

So to answer the question, yes, I do some rewriting as I go along – but after I’ve written a few chapters – but I will also do several rewrites after I finish the first draft.

The process is all subjective – whatever works for the individual writer.

How and when do you rewrite your novel?

Comments?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available.

 

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Kick-start writing your novel when it hits stall mode

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Has the novel you are writing hit stall mode?

Maybe you’ve been procrastinating? Maybe family and/or work stuff has taken up a lot of your time? Or maybe, like me, 2015 has been shoving unwanted and unanticipated problems at you.

To get back on track with writing your novel takes some major work on your part. What I am doing to get back on track with writing the next novel in my Beyond mystery series may not be your cup of tea, but for what it’s worth, here it is.

When I get hit with a lot of problems from “outside” as I call it – and that can be anything from weather-related property problems to cable TV problems to computer problems, I find that getting angry about it helps. I use that anger to get at whomever or whatever is causing the problem to fix it. Sometimes I am even nice about it. But I find anger combined with persistence, can help get the problem resolved.

That’s when a third party doesn’t have to be called in to fix the problem, but that’s another story.

As you can guess, all this steals my precious time, time I could be using writing my new mystery novel. So how am I getting back to that?

  1. I switched over to Research mode – I had some research I needed to do before I could get much further in the novel anyway. Research can be worked into a fragmented schedule at home or in transit (except when driving) – whether online or from print material.
  2. Go back to your novel outline – plot and characters. Chances are your mind is scattered with all your problems, so focusing on just where your novel is going (or not) and fixing that not only gets your mind off the problem temporarily, it helps you move forward with your novel. Because of the crappy winter weather conditions, I decided to arrive very early to teach a memoir writing workshop last week at a local library branch. I didn’t bring my laptop because I was carting enough books and handouts for the workshop. But I did bring a small print file containing some plot and character concerns. So, I sat in the library branch and reworked some of the outline. I figured out exactly why I wanted X character to be the murderer and also how to add more suspense and foreshadowing in the novel.
  3. Make an hour or two during your day when you can actually sit at your computer and do some more writing – and to hell with the problems. This is a good distraction and also moves your novel along.
  4. I also went back to the beginning to work in more suspense and foreshadowing, mainly connected to the murderer. Sometimes going back to the beginning and just reading it, not only refreshes your memory, it might also provide more ideas and you will find yourself making a few changes.

 

And the problem causers?

They better watch out. I don’t take kindly to having my life screwed up big time. Especially when it interferes with my writing. Sometimes I work these people, organizations, etc. into my fiction-writing – changing names and details of course. All fodder for the fiction.

 

See, you can have some fun as an author and also get some writing done, too.

 

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Author of the Beyond book series. See http://www.samcraw.com and http://www.bluedenimpress.com for more info. Book at top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

To watch my interview on Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com go to Go to http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY and enjoy

 

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Beyond Blood shows up in print

 

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.

~ Charles Caleb Colton

 

My publisher just delivered my print copy of Beyond Blood and it is bloody good – lots of red on the cover, better than the icon here.

Beyond Blood had a long journey from inception to print. The original story was first conceived in the late 1990s. I researched, wrote, rewrote, rewrote (many times),

Think again, Sharon A.

Sure, one publisher asked for the full manuscript and read it – but rejected it. So did several other publishers who looked at only one to three chapters.

Into the drawer. Hide it on my computer.

Until my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point was published by Blue Denim Press in fall 2012. Just before that the editor at BDP, Shane and I were talking about a series and I mentioned the closet novel. He was interested in looking at it.

So the big rewrite began. I started working from a printed copy because that is easiest for me to grasp the whole story and scribble notes. Not that I looked at them all when doing the rewrites. Something about putting it down on paper ingrained the changes in my mind. And when I rewrote, the ideas expanded.

I thought it was ready for Blue Denim Press. Not quite. But they were willing for me to have another go. So I did with Shane’s suggestions and fine-tuned it some more. Then I sent it back.

Not quite yet – but they were accepting it. I just needed to do some more rewriting. So, with Shane’s suggestions (and some more ideas of my own that they spawned), I got back to work rewriting. Even hired a freelance editor to proofread it and the author who wrote the back page review even took it upon herself to comment in a few places. So more changes were made.

After a bit more to-ing and fro-ing of questions and comments between Shane and I the bloody manuscript was ready. And I’m not swearing – remember, the novel’s title is Beyond Blood. And that was my original title.

It’s taken 17 years, but Beyond Blood has come to fruition.

So all you “closet” novelists, keep writing and rewriting. Keep persisting. Get feedback.

Don’t give up.

For a peak at what Beyond Blood is about – go to www.bluedenimpress.com Check out the flyer for information on the book launch October 19 – and if you are in the southern Ontario Canada area, come to the book launch.

And stay tuned – the fraternal twin PIs from the Beyond books – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture will be back here starting in next week’s post.

The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.

For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Still more updates on my reading gigs to be added as I get them.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Rewriting your fiction

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out

–          Author Unknown

In previous posts I’ve talked about when you write that first draft you need to keep on writing and never mind fixing it up. At some point, you will need to wake up the editor inside your head and rewrite. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years and in particular while working with the editor at the publisher (Blue Denim Press) of Beyond the Tripping Point.

  1. What you think needs rewriting and others think may not always mesh. And that’s a good thing because you want many readers for your book.
  2. You don’t have to do exactly as someone else suggests – for example in my story “16 Dorsey St.” my editor suggested making the seniors younger. That would mess up the story’s timeline, so I compromised – I took three or four years off the seniors’ ages and worked in that they were not frail.
  3. Often someone else’s suggestion makes the story better. My editor suggested deleting out a very long ending to “My Brother’s Keeper” with an alternate shorter ending, plus deleting and/or changing parts of “Porcelain Doll.” I complied and had two better stories.
  4. Get feedback from other writers – joining a writers’ critique group (online or in person) is helpful here.
  5. When you get right down to it, you will be doing the rewriting and BEFORE you show it to anyone you should do some rewriting:
  6. When rewriting look for:

a)      Too wordy phrases – can you say it in one or two words?

b)      Anything that doesn’t make sense to you.

c)      Repetition – in action, scenes, words (do a “Find” for the latter – you’d be surprised how many times a “was” or my problem word “but” appear).

d)     Watch for any scene, etc. that makes you yawn (outside of when you are tired).

e)      In line with d) pace yourself in rewriting. Don’t try to rewrite a whole novel in one go.

f)       Make sure your plot and character actions make sense to you and aren’t vague and inconsistent. Sure, you want to leave your readers guessing about some things but having your character suddenly start karate-chopping a villain when you’ve already presented the character as slight in build, meek, with no interest in martial arts, oh…oh.

g)      However, make sure your characters undergo some change. This might sound counter to f) but show some characteristic that would motivate their actions despite a weakness. For example, in “Unfinished Business,” my main character, Lilly, avoids confronting her past until her past threatens her 12-year-old daughter. The story up to then shows that Lilly loves her daughter.

h)      Can whole scenes, parts of scenes, parts of chapters, even whole chapters be eliminated? Here look for a plot thread or tangent that isn’t really necessary to the story. In my prequel novel (still in rewriting stage), I removed whole scenes connected to one thread – another murder. Instead of having  PI Dana Bowman do a long trip down to Toronto to find a specific person (and finding her body), I had her computer savvy twin brother Bast Overture find a news story on the Internet about it. All it needed was a follow-up with Detective Sergeant Fielding for the police end to include an important plot part without all the extras. If your novel manuscript is longer than say 75,000 to 90,000 words (and the latter is pushing it), that might be an indication to cut. Or maybe rewrite it all into two books. (Note: as an editor I turned down copy editing a novel manuscript that was 205,000 words – gulp, although I had a time issue here too).

i)        For short stories, remember they are short stories, so even with the longer stories (6000 words and over) make sure every word counts – no tangents. A specific word count from your targeted market (contest, publisher, etc.) can be used here.

j)        On your later rewrites, do a line check for extra words and phrases. Be ruthless.

These are my 10 pointers for rewriting fiction. Does anyone have a pointer to add? How do you rewrite your fiction? Please share.

For my upcoming events with Beyond the Tripping Point, go to my BTTP page on my websitehttp://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html I continually update it. In particular:

Thursday, April 18, 2013,7 p.m.

Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards Short List Party Toronto http://crimewriterscanada.com/awards/annual-awards-events/shortlist-events

I’m reading a short suspenseful excerpt from Beyond the Tripping Point. Eleven other CWC readers  are reading excerpts from their books as we anxiously await the names of who made the short list. Our books are for sale, too.

Location: Indigo Chapters in the Manulife Centre, Bay St. at Bloor St. W., Toronto

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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