Hey, everyone! Sorry that I missed Agent Hunt this week! I’ve been wrestling with a cold, and it just caught up with me. It will be back this coming Monday, though!
For this week’s Twin Thursday with Rachel of Chicken-Scratch Plot, we’re looking at the next round of edits. To go back to my home reno analogy, this is where you get the house actually looking like a house. You get the drywall up, run the electrical and plumbing, lay down the subfloor and the carpeting. You put some meat on the bones of the house.
This round of editing works much the same way. Remember those rough transitions and jagged edges we left behind in the last draft? This is where you fix them. As before, I find it easiest to work from beginning to end. Sometimes I actually have to do this step in two passes; one to read it straight through and mark up what I still need to fix, and another to actually do the changes. So, since we did the big bones last time, what are we looking for?
- Continuity. Look for places where you’re inconsistent. Maybe an injury disappears miraculously, or a character who wasn’t there in this scene suddenly shows up. Any sudden, inexplicable changes that would snap a reader out of the story, flag and fix them.
- Tension. This is a great guest post by C.S Pacat, the author of the Captive Prince trilogy, about creating and maintaining the tension in your story from scene to scene. As you’re reading, look for places where the conflict lessens and you don’t want it to. Then decide what you can do to keep your characters on edge.
- Mood. Does your emotional ambiance match the scene? You’ll use different words, for example, if you’re giving your heroes and honest-to-gods lighthearted break from the high-stakes chase versus if they’re surrounded and someone’s cracking blackly humorous jokes. You’ll fine-tune this in the next step, but for now just focus on deciding what kind of feel you’re going for and laying the groundwork for it.
- Comprehension. Does the sequence of events make sense? Does each scene build on what came before it? Are important plot events and revelations properly seeded beforehand? You did most of this in the last pass, but this is where you check your work and make sure it’s doing what you intended. Make tweaks as you go to be sure you’re getting the mileage you need out of it.
- Chapter and Scene Breaks. Are they hitting in the most poignant spot? If not, what do you need to add or cut to get the resolution that you’re looking for? It sounds simple, but this is one of the things that establishes the skeleton of your story. Be sure you’re getting your money’s worth!