It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month and is run by our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Seriously, I love this support group!
Today, I'd like to talk about "Revision Hell". I've not been blogging very much lately since I've been deep in revisions for two of my novels. Quite a bit of work, but I've actually come to enjoy it. Yes, this means I haven't had to kill any of my darlings lately. Whew! I still suck at writing kissing scenes, but I've learned a few things that I wanted to share with you.
Krista's Sorta-Helpful Revision Tips
1. Double spacing.
I have a serious problem with this. My critique partner pointed it out to me recently that you are not supposed to put two spaces after a period at the end of the sentence. It used to be okay when we used typewriters, but it isn't necessary anymore. It's a really hard one to break!
2. He said, she said.
We are taught to use dialogue tags at the end of a sentence to tell the reader who is speaking. But it isn't always necessary. Show what the speaker is doing; the action not the telling. Here's an example from my novel, Breathless:
“Wanna go swimming this afternoon? I wanna wear my new swimsuit I found at the flea market last week,” Rachel said excitedly. “Pretty please?”
“I don’t know. I have so many things to do,” Lainey said. “I have to plan my 401K and pick out my retirement home.”
Rachel was annoyed. “You waitress at Murray’s Café a few days a week; I doubt you need a 401K, and you aren’t old.”
And here's the same passage without using said:
“Wanna go swimming this afternoon? I wanna wear my new swimsuit I found at the flea market last week.” Rachel bounced up and down on her toes. “Pretty please?”
“I don’t know. I have so many things to do.” Lainey laughed. “I have to plan my 401K and pick out my retirement home.”
Rachel rolled her eyes dramatically. “You waitress at Murray’s Café a few days a week; I doubt you need a 401K, and you aren’t old.”
3. Active, not passive.
Avoid using "ing" and "was". Instead of saying "She was driving home after Peter's death, listening to the wipers thumping." - say "She drove home after Peter's death to the thump, thump of the wipers." It makes it seem like the action is happening, not that it happened, even if you do write in past tense.
4. Repeating the same physical action
My characters are NEVER allowed to roll their eyes. Never. The wonderful Cassie Mae did a read-through of my novel "Breathless" and pointed out how many times Lainey rolled her eyes. Yeah, be careful of writing your characters doing the same thing too many times. It gets annoying.
What tips would you add to give suggestions for those who are deep in Revision Hell? What's the word or phrase that you find yourself repeating too many times in your manuscripts? I'm not allowed to have a character roll their eyes or overuse the word "that".