Jan 21, 2010

What could go wrong?

Revisions can be tough, with the dry eyeballs and freezing fingers because they haven't left your laptop in hours. Everyone goes through their revisions looking for the basics like plot, pacing, and character development. Well, I've decided to list OTHER things to look for, some that are sort of subdivisions of the examples listed about. Hopefully, like me, these will make you think harder when editing your novel. 

1. writing too long/ too short
2. losing track of plot lines
3. having scenes that go nowhere (remember my post the other day?)
4. writing saggy, baggy middles
5. phony-sounding dialogue/ real-sounding dialogue that DOES NOTHING to move the story forward/ cryptic, unintelligible dialogue
6. excessive internal dialogue
7. stiff awkward action/ pointless action/ nothing BUT action
8. plots that wander off on tangents/ plots that never reach an ending
9. repetitive chapter structure
10. endings that just don't matter/ endings that fizzle when they should be SIZZLING
11. infodumps 
12. confusing flashbacks and flashforwards
13. "protected" main characters
14. characters with no redeeming qualities/ characters with no questionable qualities/ characters with no conflict
15. verbosity, verbosity, verbosity
16. no mini-cliffhangers through the book/ too many cliffhangers
17. breaking story's rules/ a character for an easy out
18. BIG ONE HERE--cheating the plot for an easy out
19. broken plot logic
20. plot stalls frequently
21. writing/plot are mucho amatuerish
22. character have terrible, awkward dialects

...And, the list could go on and on. Ya'll get the picture, right? I hope so because my fingers are once again frozen thinking of all these. 

Feel free to add to this list in the comments section!

13 comments:

Voidwalker said...

This is a fantastic post to help writer's focus in on what does and does not matter. I'm sticky'ing it and plan on revisiting when I got back to overhaul my current WIP. I have my own ideas of what to look for, but it's easy to forgeet about certain things that might matter.

THANKS!

Kara said...

I'm so afraid of the saggy baggy middle!!

Elle Strauss said...

Funny, I just wrote a post on Revisions for tomorrow.

Great minds!

Ash. Elizabeth said...

Voidwalker, I agree. That's why over the past couple months I made a list of about 70 things to check off before sending it off to agents. I'm a dork, however, and manage to worry about worrying. I don't want to edit out my voice after all! That's definitely another thing to think about is when enough is enough. you don't want to trim it down to skin and bones, you know?

Kara, well so far your MS doesn't look like it can be saggy, baggy but I'm slightly biased since we're FCs lol

Elle, great minds is right! Can't wait to read your post tomorrow : )

Nisa said...

Great list! I'll have to keep it in mind as I revise over the next few weeks/months.

Lisa and Laura said...

In one of our first drafts we had a character email another character to explain himself. I guess you could call that cheating. Needless to say, we fixed that massive mistake!

Bethany Mattingly said...

Great list. I'm going to keep it in mind for my next revision.

Voidwalker said...

Not a dork, just concise! And I like the new profile pic by the way.

jdcoughlin said...

First visit, and Hey, did you have to put that right out there? I mean, it's not like I don't have enough to worry about!! Love number 4, though. That is so true in so many books. As a reader, I've found myself skimming whole rambling chapters and moving to the pickup again. Good thing to watch for.

jdcoughlin said...

First visit, and Hey, did you have to put that right out there? I mean, it's not like I don't have enough to worry about!! Love number 4, though. That is so true in so many books. As a reader, I've found myself skimming whole rambling chapters and moving to the pickup again. Good thing to watch for.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

I'm not a writer, but I loved reading your advice. You phrase them in a very cute way. :)

lovely miss lucy(: said...

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You got an award at my blog :D

SB said...

wow -- if ever i was to consider writing a novel, your list has now scared the bejeezus out of me...and made me rethink it. I wouldn't know where to start!:-)...Great list!