Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:33 pm





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Introspection on editing 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7004
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1055
Thanked: 2039 times in 1637 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Introspection on editing
To preface, I have a habit of writing down my thoughts just to clarify them. This is simple stuff which many people could greatly expand on. But it may catalyze a good creative thought or two.


Initial Editing


What to look for:
Conveyance
Digestion
Suspense

What to do:
Component replacement
Expansion/Contraction
Distance
Brainstorming




Suspense
Good introspection is required. You must be able to feel the most minute ‘tug’ on your motive, where you are interested for any reason in the book. You must also be able to sense the strength of that pull. There are tactics for increasing suspense when it’s already established. I will devise my own first. Suspense Max. If none of the techniques work, brainstorm another carrot through “component replacement”, using “renew” if you’re in a rut.

Conveyance
This has to do with how well you’ve expressed something. This filter is applied by distancing yourself from your work. Once a few days/weeks have gone by, and the nuances of the concepts have faded from memory, you can see how well your work reinforms you.

Digestion
This has to do with how abrasive the writing is. It helps to find points where your conveyance is murky as well. Easily digested writing is such that you can begin reading, and not have any mental ‘hiccups’ from lousy wording, clumsy phrasing, or anything at all that disrupts the simple flow of words to brain. Any good author can do this intuitively, homing in on problem spots in their work. Some spots are a bit harder to detect, since the friction is minor. If you have to read a sentence twice, or engage a bit too much of your brain to understand it, it’s difficult to digest.

This category is rather large, it encompasses many potential problems. Grammar, spelling, phrasing, repetition.




Component replacement

If there’s a chunk of story that’s larger and doesn’t work, but you don’t want to replace it, you’ll need to isolate the constants you want to keep then brainstorm around them.

A complex storyline could have constants that you’re not aware of, so beware replacing any component without a bit of thought put into it. Isolate the constants to some abstract form, and start brainstorming ideas that will meet all the constants. Location is almost always a constant, as are characters. If a plot point is not one of the constants, you have the option to discard the section altogether. Unless it’s necessary for conveyance.


Expansion/Contraction

This is the most common part of editing. Removing an unnecessary sentence, or adding a new sentence for better conveyance. Making two sentences out of a single run-on, or rewriting a sentence for better effect.

This would apply in larger chunks as well. Add a paragraph to draw out a suspenseful moment. Or deleting a paragraph which isn’t plot-critical.



Brainstorming

For nearly anything you want to think up, there are constants. If you’re thinking of a brand new plot, you may have the condition that it abide by the laws of physics, and that there be a female with red hair, or whatever tickles your pickle. The constants start to pile up as a story is developed, cementing the more fundamental ones in place. These plot-critical points will have to be brainstormed around, whereas some of the weaker constants can be replaced.

If coming up with an idea is taking too long, try to hold the constants in an ever more abstract form. The more abstract you go, the less hidden barriers there are to your creativity. Meaning, in your mind’s eye you always visualize the scene with something that doesn’t need to be there, but you didn’t realize it. If it doesn’t work, figure out which constant is most easily eliminated or replaced. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you need help brainstorming.

For a boost of creativity, always brainstorm 3 interchangable ideas that fit all your conditions. Apply your own personal filter to pick the correct one. Intuition may be best. Apply any number of rubrics if you’re not confident. If the first idea you think of is a good one while brainstorming, be disciplined and think up 2 more. If the first truly was the best, it will win anyways. But beware that we’re sometimes lead astray by our own minds. We may think an idea is good, only because it “clicked”, it fit into place, all the constants fit. The most creative people don’t simply think up the best ideas the very first time and stick with them. They think up many ideas, then apply a filter. It is an evolutionary algorithm applied to recombination of knowledge.


Distance

Getting distance from your work at some point during editing is critical. It is useful for gauging suspense and conveyance. Let your work sit for a few days, in chapter-sized chunks. The longer the better, let it fade from memory so you can see it with fresh eyes. I’d be interested in other people’s thoughts here.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
Avid Reader, R. LeBeaux
Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:39 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Wearing Out Library Card


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 229
Location: Central Florida
Thanks: 166
Thanked: 114 times in 80 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
Lots of good stuff here that writers and editors should consider. Been busy as hell lately, but will try to find some time soon to digest and comment on your ideas.


_________________
Author of the novel Then Again - An Adventure in Time Travel
amazon.com/Then-Again-Adventure-Time-Tr ... f_=asap_bc
http://www.wmpublishing.com/


The following user would like to thank R. LeBeaux for this post:
Interbane
Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:55 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Tenured Professor

BookTalk.org Moderator

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 3564
Location: Michigan
Thanks: 1321
Thanked: 1149 times in 843 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
my advise for editing and revising your own work is to go with the insipration.

That is, if you have an idea run with it and let it play out until you are out of steam. Don't stop and edit something you've just wrote, even if you know it is not up to par.

Keep going until you are done and that idea has been expressed. Then you can edit. And i find a lot of times parts that i wrote which were not as good as they could be are improved by ideas i have writing things further down the line which i can then go back and implement.

Getting that long view can help solve the problems you can't fix when the rest of the story hasn't been really thought through.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


The following user would like to thank johnson1010 for this post:
Avid Reader, Interbane
Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:50 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7004
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1055
Thanked: 2039 times in 1637 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
To go full pace with your inspiration, I think you need a few things in place first. The background and characters must be developed, so you don't run into snags where you're uncertain what would happen or have to fill in a blank.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
Avid Reader
Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:49 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Cunning Linguist


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Thanks: 106
Thanked: 53 times in 42 posts
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
I just found this thread and I wanted to say I really appreciate the information and ideas. Being a wannabe writer, I had hoped to find more of this kind of thing here, that is, information and advice about the actual writing process. I had never even thought about the more cerebral aspects of writing and editing that Interbane mentioned, and it gives me a whole new perspective on the process. More please . . .


_________________
Money is a lousy way of keeping score.


Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:06 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Wearing Out Library Card


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 229
Location: Central Florida
Thanks: 166
Thanked: 114 times in 80 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
Interbane wrote:
Conveyance . . . Distance


This, I believe, is especially valuable when writing fiction. Fiction is often very personal, even when you’re not writing from your own experiences. If you have created realistic characters, you should be able to personally identify with them; the bad, the good, the indifferent. Once you have established this personal relationship with your characters, the flow of the writing takes on a realistic aspect that affects you emotionally, and that emotional attachment can color your opinion of your own prose, often to the point of obscuring obvious flaws.

As Interbane suggests, one way to become more objective is to distance yourself by letting things lay for a while. Even then, however, remnants of this emotional attachment can remain. Another method is to have someone (preferably a lover of literature, whose objectivity you can count on) read and comment on your work-in-progress. There are very few successful novelists that do not have at least one “reader” (most have several) who will read and make honest comments on their work. These are not editors, per say (though some may serve in that capacity as well), but are usually colleagues or friends who read a great deal for pleasure. Some authors restrict these readings to only completed drafts, however many will have their work read in segments when they are experiencing problems with a particular passage, scene or chapter.

Another effective method of gaining objective perspective on your work is to form a small group of writers, whose members read and criticize each other’s writing. I say “small” to differentiate what I’m talking about from the general run of writers’ clubs and larger groups, which, because of their size and social nature, are essentially useless for a serious author. A group of three or four carefully chosen writers, whose interests lie only in improving their work (as opposed to socializing or carping about rejection), allows time for individual interaction and valuable criticism.

Interbane wrote:
Mental ‘hiccups’ from lousy wording, clumsy phrasing, or anything at all that disrupts the simple flow of words to brain.


The mental ‘hiccup’ Interbane refers to here is to be avoided at all costs, since such things can jerk the reader out of the story with confusion or perplexity and leave them frustrated, thereby reducing their enjoyment and opinion of the writer. A couple of common mistakes in this area (sometimes made by well-known writers) are odd character names, and problems with continuity.

Though many writers just starting out will try to come up with unique names for their characters, unless you are depicting aliens or magical characters in a SF or fantasy novel, it is probably better to stick to fairly common names. Complicated names that are difficult to pronounce verbally are also difficult to pronounce mentally, and you don’t want your readers fumbling around with mental stabs at pronunciation when you are trying to keep them involved in the flow of your story.

Another bit of advice about names is that if your story is a period piece, or contains characters born in previous generations, it is a good idea to do some research before choosing names. For example, if you have a character who is fifty years old named Jayzee, you’re going to raise a few eyebrows and lose some credibility with your audience, since this would most likely be a derivative of Jay Z, the rapper whose name has only become known over the past fifteen years or so. Remember, people’s names are not related to the current times, but to what babies were being named at the time of their birth. There are lists online of the most common names given to babies in various past years, and by using these lists you can make sure your character names don’t sound out of place.

Other common mental “hiccups” occur with problems in continuity. Continuity, for those not familiar with the term as it applies to storytelling, refers to getting and keeping your facts straight; “facts” meaning anything from actual historical events, dates and times, to fictional versions of the same. In film making, there is always someone assigned to maintaining continuity, be it the script supervisor or an actual Continuity Director. It is their job to make sure that nothing seems odd or out of place in a movie. Movies are almost always shot out of sequence, in several locations with various lighting, sound, weather and other conditions. Likewise, in a novel, particularly one that spans many years or contains flashbacks, there will be certain conditions and facts for which the references throughout the book must remain consistent. One example (and there are usually dozens in any novel) of a potential continuity problem might be the following:

If Mary gave birth to her second child Timmy on January fifth of 1990, you should not say Timmy was born on a Monday, either then or later in the book, because January fifth, 1990 was a Friday. There are several websites that will calculate these things for you, and if you want to make your stories believable, it is a good idea to use these reference sources. Such potential problems are not limited to dates and times, but can include things like the placement or nomenclature of objects, the availability of characters, hair color and other physical attributes, and other details.

Interbane wrote:
Brainstorming


Brainstorming is a bit hard to do if one is alone, since the term generally refers to a group of people throwing ideas out spontaneously. Solitary brainstorming can, however, be done, simply by jotting down lists of ideas, then modifying or combining them in various ways. Another method is to flip randomly through books, scanning pages until something (a word, phrase, or bit of dialogue) jumps out at you, then add these thoughts to your lists. Books of quotes, essays, and even humor can be useful for this purpose. It is also a good idea to always carry a notepad, a supply of index cards, or a recording device of some kind, in order to record thoughts you may have about a story while not at your desk. Such thoughts can not only provide fodder for later brainstorming, but can help the writing process in other ways. For example, you can record visual and other sensual details (sounds, smells, tactile feelings, etc.) to use in descriptions; facial expressions and body language of people you see to use in character development; and/or conversations you overhear to use in depicting vocal quirks or emotion.

Interbane wrote:
To go full pace with your inspiration, I think you need a few things in place first. The background and characters must be developed, so you don't run into snags where you're uncertain what would happen or have to fill in a blank.


This is also a good bit of advice. Even though I often begin with only a raw idea, writing down everything that comes to mind with a kind of wild abandon (as johnson1010 suggests), this is only for the purpose of allowing free-form thought to spill out. Once the idea begins to gel into something more coherent, I tend to start thinking in terms of the entire piece, be it a short story, an essay, or a novel. If I deem the idea worthy of a novel, I identify the main characters and settings, and flesh these out before I start the actual writing process.

For me, character studies are of utmost importance. I often create entire life stories for each of my main characters in order to “get to know” them as if they were living, breathing human beings, so I can understand how they will act and react when I put them in various situations and encounters with other characters. You’ve probably heard it said by many authors that their characters sometimes do unanticipated things, which is a sign they have become virtually alive, with minds and wills of their own. Unless you are basing characters on persons you know intimately, it is almost impossible to achieve this level of realism unless you take the time to build life histories for them. You may never use more than 10% of the specifics in a character study, however, the other 90% will provide the undergirding for the character’s personality, and can even help direct the natural flow of the story.


_________________
Author of the novel Then Again - An Adventure in Time Travel
amazon.com/Then-Again-Adventure-Time-Tr ... f_=asap_bc
http://www.wmpublishing.com/


Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:20 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 7004
Location: Da U.P.
Thanks: 1055
Thanked: 2039 times in 1637 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
Quote:
Brainstorming is a bit hard to do if one is alone, since the term generally refers to a group of people throwing ideas out spontaneously. Solitary brainstorming can, however, be done, simply by jotting down lists of ideas, then modifying or combining them in various ways.


When I'm out in my garage thinking up ways to engineer something specific, I always turn to my bucket of brain food. It's nothing but a bucket of random electromechanical items that always seem to catalyze a few good ideas.

For writing, it really depends on why you're brainstorming. An entirely new concept or the name of an inessential character. There's a broad range. For whatever category of idea you need, find a suitable "pool" of ideas within that category. For example, if you want to think up a new plot or consider different backgrounds, spend an hour at the library and read the back of as many books as you can, or get collections of short stories. Input random data within the category, and watch your beautiful brain recombine the data into something workable.

Video games usually help me to come up with new ideas. Usually in video games, you are emotionally invested in your character, and have flexibility to make choices. In any game you find nowadays, there is also a storyline. Sometimes the storylines are great, as good and suspenseful as anything you'll find in a book. Plus the graphics are usually handcrafted(rather than filmed as in movies.) This leads to often bizarre and outlandish landscapes, creatures, machines, etc. Video games are very good for brain food.


Quote:
The mental ‘hiccup’ Interbane refers to here is to be avoided at all costs, since such things can jerk the reader out of the story with confusion or perplexity and leave them frustrated, thereby reducing their enjoyment and opinion of the writer. A couple of common mistakes in this area (sometimes made by well-known writers) are odd character names, and problems with continuity.


I'll likely be thinking about this a while. I've been thinking of it in terms of friction rather than a 'hiccup', since it's variable. Having to reread a sentence to understand it, or adverbs adding unnecessary constraints to my internal image of the story. Starting a few too many sentences with "He", or being a bit overzealous in characterization. Even these simple problems add friction.

Anachronisms, conflicting facts, or unrealistic characters are high friction. In most cases, I guess what causes friction is bad prose.

Thanks for your thoughts.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
R. LeBeaux
Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:28 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Wearing Out Library Card


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 229
Location: Central Florida
Thanks: 166
Thanked: 114 times in 80 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Introspection on editing
Interbane wrote:
When I'm out in my garage thinking up ways to engineer something specific, I always turn to my bucket of brain food. It's nothing but a bucket of random electromechanical items that always seem to catalyze a few good ideas.


This is a great analogy, and it is akin to what I do when I am trying to figure out how to create something to help me do a certain job or remedy a mechanical problem. For example, building a jig for an operation in woodworking. What I do is go to a local home improvement center and wander around looking at random items on the shelves. Inevitably, this random searching leads me to an object (or several) that can become a facet of the gig I want to create. Even if I never find a particularly useful object, I will sometimes look at something that will spark a valuable idea for the jig. This exercise also applies to the suggestion of visiting a library and reading various things. It's not that you are going to steal someone's ideas, but simply reading from a variety of sources can stimulate ideas of your own.

Interbane wrote:
I've been thinking of it in terms of friction rather than a 'hiccup', since it's variable. Having to reread a sentence to understand it


Yes, this is a major problem, and it is not restricted to amateur writers.

One additional cause of the reread-to-understand problem is caused by the "incredible disappearing comma." Because of what I like to call "The Comma Revolution" (a movement that has come to dominate the style books of most major newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and websites), the comma has been disappearing to the point of nearly become an endangered grammatical species. Granted, there was some sense in this movement at the beginning, since commas were often overused. However, an attendant result in many cases has been to confuse readers. Often in today's writing, parenthetical phrases that should be set off by commas are not, leading to confusion and the need to reread. Take that last sentence; it would not be unusual to see it written like this:

"Often in today's writing parenthetical phrases that should be set off by commas are not leading to confusion and the need to reread."

With the commas removed, the first part of the sentence becomes odd sounding, and in the second part, the reader might wonder at first if I was saying, "parenthetical phrases that should be set off by commas are not leading to confusion..." The point here is that, even with today's "rules," writers should be aware of the times when eliminating commas can result in confusing prose. My advice is to always identify and set off parentheticals, and, whenever there would be a natural pause if the sentence were read aloud, insert a comma.


_________________
Author of the novel Then Again - An Adventure in Time Travel
amazon.com/Then-Again-Adventure-Time-Tr ... f_=asap_bc
http://www.wmpublishing.com/


Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:14 pm
Profile Email WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2018. All rights reserved.


seo for beginners