My WIP’s Third Revision – Critiques (7)

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My WIP’s Third Revision

Critiques (7)

I working on my WIP.

cover 1I’m waiting on three beta readers…and I’m very nervous

My Beta Read

I reordered Part One and inserted three new scenes hours before I sent it to my three beta readers on Sunday.

I committed a terrible sin…I relied on Word’s spell checker.  I didn’t have time to go through my entire story with ProWritingAid.  I did that on Monday…and was horrified.  I debated whether to play dumb, or be that girl and offer them a cleaned up file.  So, rather than have them think me illiterate, I decided on bimbo…and offered them new files.

The woman was nice about it.  One guy was pissed.  I didn’t hear from the third.  Gender gap?  Ha.

What Am I Working On?

I decided to wait on big changes until after the beta readers come back.  After all, what’s the point of changing scenes they loved or hated?

Still, I was at 131,000 words and needed to come up with a strategy.

Earlier, critters complained about my use of dialog tags.  I adhere to the approach that dialog tags are there to help the reader, not relieve writer boredom.  I stay pretty close to this form:

“I put in a sentence or so of dialog,” she said.  “Then I pick up with more dialog if I need to.”

If I need something more complicated, I will use this form:

“I start with a sentence or so of dialog,” she said, then open the door or add some other action beat.  If called for, I add internalities (physical or emotional sensations, thoughts, and inner monologue.)  “Then I go on with dialog.”

I was curious about how many times I used said so I looked.  I used it over 1,000 times.  The criticism about overusing said and my need to cut my word count lead to a different approach.  My second example usually reads this way now:

“I start with a sentence or so of dialog,” she said, then open.”  She opened the door or add some other action beat.  If called for, I add internalities (physical or emotional sensations, thoughts, and inner monologue.)  “Then I go on with dialog.”

So, if I could have taken out every said I could reduce my word count by 2,000 words.  Of course, I couldn’t take out every said, but I did reduce the number to less than 500.  When I did that I also found other ways to economize on words and dropped my word count over 1,000 words.  Happily, I increased the intimacy of my writing, bringing readers closer to the POV.

I’ve also been going after other filter words which put distance between readers and POVs.  For instance, I often wrote something like this:

The man stood in the middle of the street.  He looked about and saw the crowds pushing and shoving in a milling mass of humanity, clawing their way down to the waterfront.

I underlined words which put distance between the reader and the POV.  But, what if I wrote it this way?

The man stood in the middle of the street.  He looked about and saw, drowning in the crowds pushing and shoving in a milling mass of humanity, clawing their way down to the waterfront.

I took out five words, added two more.  In the process, I took a detached reader and plunged them into that mob.

What’s Next?

I ‘m waiting for the beta readers to come back to me.  I would love for them to tell me I don’t need to change a thing, but they won’t.  I need them to find my plot holes and character arc problems.  I’ve worked on this story for a very long time and wish I were done, but I want to get it right.

If you see a tear-soaked post next time, you will know why.  Ha.

My Beta Readers spoke.

 

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4 thoughts on “My WIP’s Third Revision – Critiques (7)

  1. Good advice––when I’m editing, I also try to cut out as many dialogue tags as possible. As long as it’s clear who’s speaking, they’re often unnecessary. 🙂 And replacing words like “looked” and “saw” with stronger verbs is also a good idea!

  2. This is my first serious WIP, so I’m still trying to figure this all out. I know I don’t have all the filter words out yet.

    Scrivener is great. When I type a word into the search window, it brings up every scene the word appears in, and I can chase down through them pretty quickly. I would hate to try to do all this from Word. Yikes.

    Happy writing.

  3. Pingback: My WIP’s Third Revision – The Betas Spoke | Simply Silent

  4. Pingback: My WIP’s Third Revision – Critiques (6) | Simply Silent

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